[Cross-posted at ANORAK... stop by and say cheerio!]
SHARP-EYED officials with HM Customs arrested five foreign nationals disguised as homosexuals at Heathrow this morning in what they termed the "largest international gay joke smuggling bust in UK history." The haul include over 300 one-liners, 120 insults, 18 prop gags, and what was described as "a detailed instruction manual for effeminate mincing."
Police declined to release the identities of those apprehended but said they include two Americans, an Australian, a Canadian, and a French poodle.
"The damage this contraband japery could have inflicted on the self-esteem of the British gay community is incalculable," said Liam Green, a spokesman for HM Customs' Hate Humour Trafficking Task Force, who estimated the street value of the haul at over £30.
"Unfortunately the recent legislation in Parliament has failed to stem the tide in international homosexual joke smuggling," said Green, who added that Customs has increased wisecrack interdiction efforts at British airports and harbors. PM Gordon Brown recently announced funding for high-speed Coast Guard interceptor boats to battle an influx of pansy puns from Germany along the North Sea's notorious "Backdoor Alley" derogatory gay joke shipping lanes. A separate front in the war against jokes has been aimed at combating trafficking from Columbia's notorious Puto Cartel.
"Our staff faces a difficult task, because these smugglers can be quite devious and clever," said Green. "Working the joke vice squad takes vigilance, communication and quick wits, which I am happy to say helped us this morning."
Green commended the work of Heathrow Customs officers Andy Evans and Naresh Patel who discovered the illegal joke cache during a routine early morning inspection of passengers arriving on a BA flight from New York.
"There were these two men come to me station, draped all over each uvva, 'oohhh, hello sailor,' and all like 'at, nuffing suspicious," said Evans. "The I looked in the one's Gucci bag and it had a false bottom. When I investigated furva, I discovva me a stash of cut up words."
At a separate checkpoint, Patel made a similar discovery when checking the poodle cage of the other two men, who claimed to be pre-op transexuals on their way to Sweden. Sensing a conspiracy, officials took all four and the poodle into custody.
"The detainees at first denied any complicity. But when our detectives rearranged the words they formed the phrase, 'how do you get four poofs on a bar stool? Turn it upside down.' That's when we handcuffed them," explained Green. A subsequent search of the culprits' baggage yielded hundreds of additional homophobic anagrams.
The alleged conspirators remain in custody and are expected to face charges of offensive quip trafficking under the Customs Act. If convicted they face up to 20 years of prison, sensitivity training, and metrosexual makeovers. Graham Smith, a public defender appointed to represent the men and their poodle, attributed the incident to a "misunderstanding."
"The evidence will soon show that these illegal jokes were planted on my clients without their knowledge," said Smith, reading a prepared statement. "They were simply the unwitting innocent mules in a plot by unknown hate comedy conspirators, and are as offended by the jokes as anyone. In fact, my clients will be producing videotaped evidence this very evening to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they themselves are gay. We appeal to the public for leads to the real culprits, and donations of Vaseline."
Green said that the surprise pinch had opened up a new alleys in their widening probe of the dark underside of London's illegal gay joke dens. Among those said to be under investigation is Vito Whilby, impresario of the West End's 'Chuckleberries' comedy club and long rumoured to be kingpin of the UK's offensive humour trade.
"It's all bollocks," said an angry Whilby outside his flat this afternoon. "I'm a legitimate businessman what runs a clean, respectable licensed club, see, and I won't stand for the poof jokes. We keep our punchlines strictly legal, against the Anglicans."