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It's all kicking off in St Austell

By staff writer Stafford Wrighter

Posted August 12, 2013
st austell town centre cornwall looking like a khazi
St Austell town centre: Boody, innum? © Ignatius Rake

UFOs, furverts, rubbish robbers and stupid sniffers. There's never a dull moment in St Austell.

The once relatively prosperous1 centre of the Cornish china clay industry, St Austell has gone a bit to the dogs of late.

Described by ITV News as "becoming a ghost town", the most populous urban centre in the former Celtic Kingdom of Cornwall2 is blighted by, among numerous other things, unemployment, pitiful wages, empty shops and an influx of recovering junkies shipped in from up country who, in the words of one local resident we spoke to, "don't recover; they just thieve and die".

Nevertheless, the town is still attracting visitors.

Extraterrestrial visitors.

st austell cornwall former halifax empty
A former building society: Now just an empty building with sod all society. © Ignatius Rake

According to the St Austell Voice, a "mysterious power cut" that "struck hundreds of homes" in St Austell this past November 22 was presaged by "a blue light [that flashed] across the sky like a UFO before TVs, computers and radios lost power".

Speaking to the paper, one eyewitness told of how the light, which appeared in the sky at around 23:00 local time and which puts this particular hack, at least, in mind of the blue light Whitley Strieber describes as proceeding his various alien abductions in the book Communion, also put the kibosh on the streetlights outside.

However, when they came back on after an unspecified period of time, it was as though "everything had been dimmed".

"It was like someone had flown over and sucked all the electric away," the anonymous witness is quoted as saying.

"My neighbour got out a big torch and shone it outside, but it was giving out barely any light."

"It was as if all the power had been taken."

Three days later, the report continues, another blue light was seen in the skies above the town, travelling at rapid speed from the direction of Newquay, 25 km to the northwest.

It is claimed that this light too caused a similar blackout.

While it is fully understandable why an intelligent life form would wish to get as far away from Newquay as quickly as possible, the question remains as to why they would be interested in St Austell, other than to maybe stock up on pasties, check out the local street art or, increasingly these days, score a load of smack.

One possible answer is that the ufonauts were up for a spot of furring, described by a 2007 Metro report as a sexual practice in which 'furverts', or 'furries', dress up "in giant teddy bear or other outfits" and then indulge in bouts of wonton woodland rutting.

Whatever floats your boat, eh?

And it would seem that plooking Winnie-the-Pooh up the poohole floats a fair few boats in and around St Austell, with the article telling how one practitioner, known only as 'Paddington', "regularly takes part in the activity" in woods surrounding the town.

Describing St Austell as "fast becoming a hotbed for furries", Paddington reportedly adds: "We're a group of people who like things to do with animals."

"It's great to meet up with fellow furries and enjoy the great outdoors."

And then roger each other senseless, no doubt.

"Some of my fur suits come back in a right state," the owner of local fancy dress hire shop Make Believe told the paper.

"The most popular is Sylvester the Cat."

closed shopping centre  st austell cornwall
The sign says closed, it's a sign of the times: Legend has it there used to be shops there once. © Ignatius Rake

But big hairy pussies certainly aren't the only disguises some locals like to don.

A certain Jamie Neil, for instance, recently found his face splashed across both the local and national press despite going to great efforts to hide his identity when holding up a petrol station by the town's Mevagissey roundabout this past September 27.

His chosen means of covering his face?

A see-through plastics bag.

For reasons not yet established by science, the 41-year-old astrophysicist's angelic visage was somehow captured on CCTV.

Both he and his 20-year-old accomplice Gareth Tilley were apparently ripped to the tits on booze and Rx pharmaceuticals they had previously twocked from an undisclosed location.

This may well have accounted for the other dazzling facet of their Brink's-MAT-like heist.

Tilley threatened to shoot the lone garage attendant with Neil's mobile phone3.

A cunning ploy only ruined when the keypad lit up, revealing Tilley's 'gun' to be anything but and leading Neil to physically attack the attendant with his head, proving that it did at least have some useful purpose after all.

The local Piranha Brothers then fled with a bottle of spirits4, only to be recognised two days later by an off-duty policewoman.

It is not clear whether Neil was still wearing the bag at the time of his arrest.

Both got two years.

Sticking a plastics bag on your head is arguably not the wisest thing to do from a safety point of view.

Ditto smoking cigarettes while attempting to get off your nelly sniffing butane gas in a confined space, which is exactly what another 41-year old man, this time in the company of a 19-year-old male, is thought to have been doing three weeks later when the temporary accommodation they were staying in went up in flames.

After first blowing out a window, the ignited gas, so This Is Cornwall reports, then started a fire that "engulfed their room" at the Trevanion Guest Lodge on the other side of, yeah, that's right, the Mevagissey roundabout.

Both were subsequently "rushed" to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Tresliske, Truro before being transferred to Swansea in Wales "for specialist burns treatment", the news website says.

Although both unnamed men were put "on the danger list", their injuries were not, at the time of the report, believed to be life-threatening.

Things may well have been slightly different, however, had the 15 residents evacuated as a result of their alleged actions been allowed to get their hands on them, especially the eight whom the BBC says had to be treated at the scene "for the effects of breathing in smoke".

The "nearly 20 firefighters" called out to tackle the blaze may well have had something to say on the matter as well.

As for the cops, inspector Stuart Gibbons reportedly stated: "What they were doing is not illegal, just stupidity."

Yeah, we'd go along with that.

(Hat tips to Rake & Herald newshounds Raven Akki and Wolfgang Bang.)

We would like to have embedded the aforementioned ITV News report on the town as it really is worth watching. However, we couldn't so we didn't. Instead, we strongly recommend you watch it here. To make up for it, though, here's a video embedded from Ian Baker's YouTube channel in which Alan Partridge encounters a couple of "sex people" of the sort who may or may not enjoy a spot of furring in the woods around St Austell. Remember, MDF "is banned in America".

See also "New Banksy" drug shocker, posted 12/7/13, and There goes the neighbourhood, posted 5/7/12.


1) After Northern Ireland, Cornwall is the poorest part of the UK.

2) An independent kingdom until AD 875, 'Cornwall' is the Anglicised version of the Celtic name, 'Kernow'. While the UK government in Westminster insists Cornwall is part of England, there are plenty of people in Kernow who beg to differ. Check this out, for example.

3) If Tilley didn't actually threaten to shoot the garage attendant, then his actions surely implied he might.

4) Or they nabbed "several" bottles depending on whom you want to believe. Exactly what type of spirit(s) they stole is not clear, although it probably wasn't 15-year-old Redbreast, undoubtedly the finest whiskey known to man.

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