John Naughton has posted Don’t try this at home (adding “Thanks to James Miller for the clipping.”)

I’m thinking: hmm. If you go to the article, it’s a photo of a Daily Mail clipping. It begins: “Going to bed the other night, I noticed people in my shed stealing things.” Odd phrase, but it is the Daily Mail.

The guy phones the police, they fob him off, he then phones back and says not to hurry as he’s shot them.

So an armed response unit turns up and a helicopter and three police cars. “They caught the burglars red-handed. The policeman said: ‘I thought you said you’d shot someone.’ I said: ‘I thought you said there was no one available.’

Nice – except it should set off all sorts of urban myth alarms. First, it’s clearly in the Peterborough bit of the DM – the user-generated content. (Confirmed by the fact it has a reader’s name at the end.) And you’d have heard about it on the news. And he’d not have been in a position to have a chat with the police; he’d have been spending a long time chewing the pavement while the police made sure there were no guns in his house.

It’s a nice joke, but in the end a bit crap – making people think the police are that bit less interested. Classic Daily Mail, in other words, but I’m not sure it makes sense only to repeat it. Can anyone else confirm the urban mythology at work here?

I’d ask John on his blog, but it doesn’t take comments, and I’m never sure what the best email is for him.