Northamptonshire police are investigating a stuffed fox after receiving a complaint about an episode of the Basil Brush Show in which he tells a joke about a gipsy fortune teller.
The fortune teller predicts that Basil is about to embark on a long journey. Too true, because, as Basil reveals, the man then stole my wallet and I had to walk home.
But Joseph Jones, the vice-chairman of the Southern England Romany, Gypsy and Irish Traveller Network, did not find the joke very funny and thinks that the BBC should withdraw the episode: To perpetuate this myth about gipsies and travellers is wrong.
If they are going to keep showing this then I look forward to them bringing back the likes of Alf Garnett to the screen.
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from the Northampton Chronicle
In a national newspaper column, MP Anne Widdecombe said the move by police to investigate the allegation made a "nonsense" of race laws.
She said: The idiot complainants are the gypsies who have involved Northamptonshire Police, who have in turn approached the BBC. It is good news to know that there are no burglaries or assaults in that county because, otherwise, the police would not
have found the time to investigate this rot. I don't actually object very much if someone wants to point out to the BBC that this sort of portrayal is a bit of a silly stereotype, but that is a world away from treating it as a criminal offence. The
police should have told the complainants to go and get a life but instead, solemnly logged it as an offence of a racist nature.
Hate crime officers are currently investigating the complaint as "a racist incident". Insp John McKinney said: When a person feels offended and makes a complaint of this nature to our hate crimes unit we are duty bound to investigate it
appropriately with the appropriate level of resources.