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Off Their Trolley

CRUELTY: The epidemic in shopping trolley drowning is a cause for grave concern.

From Our Detritus in Rivers Correspondents

Lee Kegge and Ova Spil

The piano on which Professor Thrupiece is believed to have composed his first three symphonies has been found at the bottom of the River Tarrant, it was announced today by a spokesperson for the RDC's Emergency Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team.

Divers searching for a missing shopping trolley had undertaken the hazardous exercise in the hope of finding the trolley [which went missing from a nearby ThreadboneExtra] before it was "too late".*

* Shopping trolleys have a notoriously short life-expectancy once exposed to river or canal water and overall survival rates are low. A study by members of the The University of Afpuddle's Sustainable Shopping Aids Research Group has suggested that only 1 in 5 survive exposure to water for more than a week, whilst 3 in 5 suffer only minor [and sometimes repairable] damage if submerged for less than 24 hours. This, says Group Leader, Won-Ki Weel, means that early detection and rescue are key to any rescue operation's success: "The first twelve hours of ay investigation are absolutley crucial", he confirmed. The RDC's crack Emergency Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team has an enviable reputation for "always getting their trolley", though that reputation took a battering during lockdown as those using "a daily shop" as their excuse to leave the house purloined trolleys as cover and then "wantonly and heartlessly discarded them on the way home". Given that RDC personnel were almost exclusively deployed in enforcing home imprisonment at the time, detection and recovery rates for abandoned shopping trolleys plummeted significantly. They have yet to recover.

One can only imagine the surprise, disappointment and even heartbreak when the team learned that instead of locating what has become the county's most followed shopping trolley, they found instead only an old and almost certainly irrepairable piano. Chief R&R Officer - Detective Sergeant Unda Watta - said that when the team - using sophisticated state-of-the-art sonar equipment - had conducted a sweep of a large stretch of the river near where the trolley had last been seen, data had suggested the presence of an object of approximately the right size and structure. "Concerned onlookers who had gathered in double figures to witness the rescue had had their hopes raised, only to have them cruelly dashed", he said. One local agriculturalist - known only as Farmer Suiticle - described the result of the search as "a bitter pill to swallow".

The somewhat lurid but doubtless effective campaign poster sponsored by The Sydling St Nicholas Sun

Interest in the fate of the missing trolley has been mounting steadily over the last 72 hours following news of its disappearance and a campaign to "Find Our Trolley" led by the Sydling St Nicholas Sun. Residents of nearby Blandford Forum held a candle-lit vigil on Tuesday and offered prayers for its safe return. The service was led by The Rev Canon Whyre B'Skett, those gathered [including several trolleys closely connected to the missing one] were in sombre mood, knowing that time to find and rescue the ThreadboneExtra trolley was fast running out. This morning, several remain undaunted; hopeful still that the much-loved trolley will be found safe and well - perhaps wandering lost, suffering from amnesia and so unable to ask for help. Others fear that it has now sunk without trace - "just another victim and another depressing statistic, joining a long list of abandoned trolleys which will never see active service again". CEO of the DSPCST** Troy Lee Park said it was doing everything within its power to help bring this sickening case to a satisfactory conclusion.

** Dorset Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Shopping Trolleys. Annual Subscription £25 or 25 trolley-unlocking tokens

As night fell, the search for the missing trolley continued, though one highly experienced but deeply distraught officer admitted privately that hope was fading fast and that the wellbeing of the trolley was now a matter of the gravest concern.

Professor Thrupiece's lost piano. Discovered yesterday by accident during the search for a missing shopping trolley it has been described as both a "priceless find" [Thrupiece Heritage Trust] and "irrelevant to our inquiries" [RDC]

In the meantime the piano once belonging to Professor Thrupiece has been admitted to Herston General for "assessment" before deciding what, if anything, should be done with it.

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