Monday, January 25, 2010

Threat of a story now "severe"

The Petersfield news story threat level is being raised from "substantial" to "severe", local safety adviser Daventry McAllister has said.

The new alert level means a news story in the Petersfield area is considered "highly likely". It had stood at "substantial" since July, but no genuine event of interest ever occurred, as the local press has faithfully reported (see 26 pages of snow pictures).

For decades, Petersfield has been defined as a "null zone", a status officially enshrined on the town by the Prevention of Tourism Act 1982, legislation designed to ensure that nothing of any consequence should ever happen in the area.

The penalties for breaching this legislation are high. As the Act itself declares: "Any person or persons found in possession of a story or with the intention of assembling a story from the component parts thereof, such as an idea, thought or interesting character, shall be in determined to be in breach of the Act and deported to Havant."

Petersfield boasts the highest ratio of news organisations to stories in the developed world. Nonetheless, members of the public are being asked to be vigilant, just in case the expected story threat should occur at an inconvenient time for the Petersfield Post's weekly deadline.

A Government spokesman said they had "no specific intelligence".

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