Saturday, 14 January 2012

The Shropshire Pumpkin Scandal

Please enjoy this shocking piece of news from last summer. The plot thickens, though, as related in this Have I Got News for You episode. Something's rotten in the county Shropshire...


Champion Shropshire pumpkin grower confesses to cheating

Monday 20th June 2011, 11:05AM BST. 

Scandal has hit a Shropshire village after the champion grower of its annual allotment association pumpkin competition claimed he filled his 186-pound prize-winning squash with water to win.

Barry Truss, 57, of Ryton Road, Beckbury, near Shifnal, has won the competition, which is held at the village’s Severn Stars pub in October, for four years in a row and walked away with a trophy and a £50 prize.

At last year’s contest, which is run by Beckbury Allotment Association, judges could scarcely believe the size of the 13-stone pumpkin, and following Mr Truss’s revelation on Saturday they were right to.

Other allotment holders have lost the plot at his cheating, and even accused Mr Truss of sabotaging rival pumpkins.

The culprit, his wife and his dog caught scheming

Mr Truss, a lorry driver, said his deception was uncovered after he was overheard telling a friend in a bar.

He said: “This kind of skulduggery goes on with everybody. I only did it for a bit of fun. I’ve been doing it for about 10 years and won it four years in a row.

“I haven’t cheated any other of the years, I haven’t had to. We’ve all had a bit of a laugh. I’m scuppered now, no-one will believe I haven’t cheated. There’s one thing for sure, I won’t get away with it again.”

Mr Truss’s wife Carol, 56, was an accessory to the swindle after she spent hours rolling the pumpkin around the garden at last October’s contest to empty it of water to stop organisers discovering his attempt to cheat.

“I was on a night out at the time when I heard that the sponsors wanted to pick it up so I phoned Carol and told her to let the water out,” added Mr Truss, who has had his allotment for 30 years. I was scared there would be a tsunami in their kitchen when they cut it open.

“I asked Carol to take the bung out of the bottom then role it around the garden until it was empty.”

Mrs Truss said: “I was rolling a giant pumpkin around the garden for hours, it was making gurgling noises.”

Mick Scriven, allotment association chairman, said today: “He’s an absolute rogue."

“As things stand he is able to take part in future competitions however there will be heightened security, and we might have to invest in some specialised equipment."

“It’s all very tongue in cheek.”

By Paul Mannion


andrew finch
June 20, 2011 at 11:10

Every one who likes to grow big pumpkins for show cheats , they do not grow to a massive size naturally 

June 20, 2011 at 12:06

Except for Jim’s on the vicar of Dibley !!!! 

Joanne Garner
June 20, 2011 at 11:53

To read our stories in full, log in to the premium 24 website….


June 20, 2011 at 17:32

What’s the problem, Joanne? Do you feel you should be able to see the whole story online for free when readers of the paper have to pay 42p? The Shropshire Star is a business and can’t just give its product for free. 

Rob, Telford
June 20, 2011 at 12:49

I blame the judges – surely they could tell that it was actually a dog and not a pumpkin…. 

June 20, 2011 at 13:37

that really made me laugh rob, how funny. x


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