Fortunately, the python turned out to be a bit on the dead side, so it wasn't all quite as terrifying as it might first have seemed. However, the report adds: "Pythons suffocate their prey, which ranges from mice and rats as hatchlings, to rabbits and small pigs in adulthood."
Small pigs? The very thought sends a shudder twisting around Porky Pie's curly tale and has prompted us to launch a no-holds-barred exclusive and exhaustive investigation into this whole python mallarkey, all conducted solely within the four walls of the Porkbolter sty (apart from an urgent visit to the off-licence) to ensure a negligible carbon footprint.
We have come up with a number of top theories for our readers to ponder over:
1. The snake was on its way to the town hall to stand as a Tory candidate in the recent council elections, only to be run over by that annoying beach patrol buggy thing.
2. The snake was the famous giant serpent that, according to local folklore, lives under Cissbury Ring, guarding its buried treasure. Our Yesteryear Correspondent Teddy Beest tells us that in the 15th century there were reports of children disappearing into what appeared to be rabbit holes on the Ring, but may in fact have been part of the serpent's elaborate human-trap. With children today preferring online gaming to nice walks in the countryside, it is possible that the serpent decided to seek out an abundance of young flesh by moving down to the seafront, only to be run over by that annoying beach patrol buggy thing.
In fact, Mr Beest suspects that over the centuries the snake did occasionally venture a little further afield for its food source. In 1848 there were reports of a serpent "of biblical proportions" lurking around one of the pedestrian footbridges over the recently built railway line, leading the Heene Improvement Sunday School for Godliness and Discipline to warn its children "ne'er to dice with snake dangers on Jacob's Ladder". Mr Beest believes that this controversy may have led to the invention of the famous board game Snakes and Ladders, possibly later patented under an assumed name by famous writer Oscar Wilde, who was living in Worthing "round about that sort of time, probably, I think", according to our well respected local history guru.
3. Put it this way, if you found a dead cockroach under your fridge, would you walk away happily imagining that this was the one and only cockroach ever to have scuttled into your kitchen. We think not! So why assume there is only one 14ft python in Worthing? Could it be that the town is actually teeming with them and that Mr Hammersley's startling discovery represents just the tip of the iceberg? It seems quite likely that the snake arrived on the beach via a sewage outlet. How many more of them are living in our sewers? Remember, rats are one of their favourite snacks, so they wouldn't exactly go hungry, would they? It's likely they would also sneak up to the surface from time to time. These days there is plenty of debris to feed on. Nobody is picking up their litter any more because they are all illiterate! Have those bin bags outside your house really been ripped open by foxes or seagulls, or are we talking about something substantially more slithery? And what's that strange hissing noise under the floorboards? Water in the pipes or a four-yard long murderous reptile ready for its dinner?
4. Is it possible the snake was working on a top secret political mission? Snakes are notoriously good at hypnotising people, as proved in the authoritative 1967 film Jungle Book. It could have been planning to approach decent Worthing people on the beach, or barbecuers at Goring Gap, and persuade them that it was a good idea to sell off the Aquarena for luxury flats, allow Tesco to build seven more hypermarkets in Durrington and quadruple the salaries of the local council bosses. Remember folks, snakes are liars! Don't fall for the old forked tongue fraudulence! Beware of brainwashing from slimey lowlife and always think for yourselves!
5. Final theory. The snake never actually existed. It was just a metaphor.
* If you think you have spotted an enormous python in Worthing, it would probably be a good idea to tell someone. The council's pest control department can be contacted on 01903 221064. Don't forget citizens, if you suspect it, report it!
HOW long is a protest? Half an hour? An hour? An entire relentless afternoon? An astonishing, gruelling, all-day vigil? Well, the Camp Titnore protest against the destruction of ancient woodland and the green gap in Durrington has been going on for a whole porkin' year! The achievement will be celebrated at 2pm on Saturday May 26 in Montague Place, Worthing - bring balloons, cakes, cards, etc. There may also be celebrations at the camp itself. Check online here, at Protect Our Woodland! and Southcoast Indymedia or phone the campers themselves on their new number, 07913 534083.
A DANGEROUS modern "electrosmog" is putting our health and our environment at risk, it is rapidly emerging.
After the evidence in our last issue about passive mobile phone use, the national spotlight has now fallen on Wi-Fi, the microwave fields that allow people to log on to the internet without being plugged into a phone line.
Reported The Independent on Sunday (April 22): "Britain's top health protection watchdog is pressing for a formal investigation into the hazards of using wireless communication networks in schools amid mounting concern that they may be damaging children's health." It added: "Virtually no studies have been carred out into Wi-Fi's effects on pupils, but it gives off radiation similar to emissions from mobile phones and phone masts. Recent research has linked radiation from mobiles to cancer and to brain damange. And many studies have found disturbing symptoms in people near masts."
After we sent a link to this story to readers on our email list (just ask if you want to be included on it!), we had response from a woman in East Worthing. She wrote: "That's interesting about the Wi-Fi - I got a wireless set up at home about four months ago and have had to stop using it because after about 20 minutes it gives me headaches, and after that I get pins and needles in my feet and hands and I start to feel really light headed and sick. I've gone back to a wired connection. I could feel when it was on or off, even when not in the same room.
"The headache feels like there's a sort of electrical thing going on between my ears, and it's very painful between the eyes, like there's pressure building there. It's actually very similar to a problem a friend of mine had a few years ago with a Nokia phone, she had the same headaches and also a metallic taste in her mouth, when she changed phones it was OK again.
"It's a very strange thing because it's not all Wi-Fi that does this to me, I can sit in a hot spot and feel fine, but my home set up is really unpleasant, maybe because it's at such close range. I do also get the same symptoms if I visit Lyons Farm Sainsbury's so maybe there's some kind of Wi-Fi thing going on up there too - I went there a few months ago for the first time in a about a year and had to leave sharpish.
"When I can feel it, it's like the air is heavy and thick, and I find it hard to think clearly, it's quite hard to put into words. I heard on the news today that some expert is recommending that children don't hold Wi-Fi devices on their lap, there's definitely something very wrong with Wi-Fi."
Meanwhile, it has also emerged that both bees and birds are being affected by the electrosmog from mobile masts, as it is believed they use electromagnetism to navigate (Independent on Sunday, April 29). This has already led Eastbourne's council to block a new mast because of fears about the bees (IoS, May 6). Any chance that Worthing will wake up to this as well?
Have you had any experiences of Wi-Fi or other types of radiation? Let us know via email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The sly 'voluntary approach' is also being used to impose car-tracking and road-pricing on drivers, after the massive e-petition raised against the idea, revealed The Times on April 16. Cash incentives will be offered to those prepared to go along with this police state measure. This has worked with Oyster travel cards in London, which track people's journeys (and even who they are travelling with). Boasted Neo-Labour transport adviser David Begg: "No one was forced to get an Oyster card, but the incentives were gradually increased and now more than ten million people have one."
Published and printed by The Porkbolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no such thing as a civil serpent.