Time was finally up for local "looney" greengrocer Nancy Fruitloupe today as RDC police officers finally moved in to secure and "restrain for her own and the public's good" the 32 year old Compton Abbas market stall holder.
Known far and wide for her off-beat sales patter, bizarre antics and tendency to make substantial pieces of fruit "disappear" into a variety of orifices , she had been showing signs of increasing instability over the last few months locals reported. Only last week she had tried to swallow a family-size cantaloupe whilst wearing a protective mask and shouting "any two for a fiver - when they're gone they're gone" - a feat described as "impossible even to contemplate" for anyone save Ms Fruitloupe. "It made my eyes water just watching her trying to magic the thing away - and it was clearly having a similar effect on her", a passing shopper, Mrs Paa-Singh Shopa, said. It was reported that she had already disposed of eight tomatoes, two aubergines, three bananas and a Jerusalem artichoke, shortly after producing a string of runner beans from somewhere about her person. "She had suggested that after disposing of the cantaloupe, she was looking forward to swallowing 5 kgs of King Edward's and - as her coup de theatre - putting fellow fruiterer Billy Dixon's nuts in her mouth". Happily, the RDC's swift intervention put a timely spanner in the works.
Dorset Outdoor Market's Consortium spokesperson Stahl Holdder said that over the years Ms Fruitloupe had made herself into something of a "crowd pleaser", adding that her daily performances - initially designed as an adjunct to her retail activities - had become almost an end in themselves. He admitted, however, that they did attract large and appreciative crowds to the Compton Abbas Tuesday Market and that her reputation for rising to every fruit-based challenge suggested to her had been of benefit to other stall holders. However, he continued that lately - and particularly since the RDC's CONTRIK-69 Safe Merchandising Protocols Enforcement Team had taken an interest in her act - Ms Fruitloop had become "more daring, less funny and almost certainly a very bad example to children". Despite repeated warnings that she should do so, Ms Fruitloupe had refused to preface her disappearing vegetable stunts with a "Don't try this at Home " Warning, meaning that it was no longer safe to allow small children, cognitively-challenged adults and old people to watch her performances or purchase her comestibles.
One regular observer who declined to be named said that, though he had frequently observed Ms Fruitloupe in action he had not purchased anything from her for some time. "When you've seen what she can do with a massive Swede it gives you pause... I mean who'd buy beetroot from her when you've a pretty fair idea where they've been?"