Sorry, my misanthropy got the better of me for a moment.
I blame the fact that it appeared almost next to this story:
A green-fingered businessman was stunned when he was hit with a £100 fine for fly-tipping - when he left flowers in parking space for a work colleague.Well, you'll say, this is just a case of an over-zealous local government official, and I'm sure it was all sorted out amicably in the end, and everyone had a good laugh about it?
Financial adviser Stephen Mayes, 56, brought two plants from his garden and left them in a colleague's parking space so she could load them into the boot of her car when she arrived at work a few minutes after him.
But within moments of unloading the plants a council warden pounced on Mr Mayes, cautioned him 'like a policeman' and slapped a £100 fine on him for fly-tipping.
'I explained they were plants for a lady in the office he said it was fly-tipping. He started cautioning me, like a police officer would do, I honestly couldn't believe it I thought it was a wind up.'Sadly for Mr Mayes, Jeremy Beadle wasn't lurking in the shrubbery. This was a deadly serious affair, as demanding money with menaces and blackmail always is...
Mr Mayes, who lives with his wife Suzanne, 55, who is a priest, wrote to Havering Council to explain what had happened but his pleas fell on deaf ears.Read the letter in the 'Mail' article.
A hand delivered letter from the council said they had sufficient evidence to prosecute him and he could be fined £2,000 and ordered to pay magistrates court costs.
He added: 'I spoke to my wife about it and decided I didn't want it hanging over me so I paid up. That is not an admission of guilt, I didn't do anything wrong but I didn't want it hanging over me any more.
'I think the council are just picking on easy targets.'
It isn't composed of snipped-out individual letters glued to a sheet of writing paper and wrapped round a brick thrown through his window, but that's the ONLY way in which it differs from your standard TV-drama blackmail note.
The blackmailers, though, when caught, do at least usually have the nous to sound contrite, in hopes of a lighter sentence.
Not this mob:
Councillor Barry Tebbut, cabinet member for the environment on Havering Borough Council, said: 'Mr Mayes admitted to littering when he paid the fine.The comments under the item make a point of noting that iDave got their votes because this was the sort of thing they expected him to stamp out.
'If he did not think he committed an offence, then he could have appealed to magistrates.
'This was explained when the notice was issued and in later correspondence.'
Well, that should be easy; Tebbutt is one of his, after all.
I wonder if he's feeling a bit sheepish at the antics of one of his own?
Update: Witterings from Witney notes that:
"... it is interesting that, reading between the lines, the litter warden got his 'wrists slapped' for not issuing a ticket for fly-tipping, but instead one for the lesser offence of 'littering' - a factor which once again speaks volumes about local authority mentality!"