In 'And they're cooking our swans as well!!!' I said the Mail was being cautious about saying whether immigrants really were eating swans, given that (a) there was no evidence whatsoever, and (b) they were just cribbing the story from the Sun.
5cc looked at the dross in the Sun and wasn't convinced by that either, not least because the pictures of the swan weren't anywhere near the camp, and didn't appear to be of a cooked swan anyway.
But you can't keep a good urban legend down, especially when you're constantly out there looking for evidence of it. It's clear the trashy anti-immigrant papers are having a private war to see who can get the 'smoking gun' for swan-cooking. Presumably somewhere there's some poor workie pretending to be a Polish immigrant living in a tent, hoping he can snap some secret video of someone carving up a swan. I pity that poor soul.
So today we have the leftovers from the Mail and Sun stories re-heated yet again, this time by that other bastion of journalistic integrity, Rothermere stablemate The Evening Standard, a local paper that wouldn't do Bridlington justice, let alone one of the biggest and most exciting cities in the world. But anyway, presenting the sub-Standard fare as its own investigation, just as it did with the Sun, they've got the smoking gun! A witness to the cygnacide! Someone who saw a dirty swarthy immigrant East European benefit scrounger carving up a big swan and eating it, chuckling and singing a traditional folk song about getting to the front of the housing queue. Well... not quite. But:
When David Gibson stumbled upon the disturbing scene he could scarcely believe his eyes.
In a squalid makeshift campsite by a north London waterway, a man was cooking his evening meal - surrounded by the bodies of slaughtered swans.
Swans? Plural? More than one? Blimey, these East Europeans have healthy appetites, don't they? One swan not enough for him, was it? He had to slice a few up?
If you've ever done jury service, you'll know just how unreliable witnesses can be. The memory can play tricks, especially if you're trying to be helpful; it's easy to think you've seen things you haven't, particularly when prompted in a certain direction. Particularly if a newspaper might lob you a few quid for saying that X is happening and you've seen it, but not for saying you've not seen X happening. This has become crystal clear when you look at the rash of 'new witnesses' dragged up by Metodo 3 and the gutter press when investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. All sorts of people suddenly remember seeing the child, Robert Murat or other strange episodes, sometimes months after the event. Why might that be? Are they just trying to be helpful, or get a little slice of fame, or get a little bit of money? Or are they just plain deluded? Some 'witnesses' have had their claims refuted even by the McCanns, which leads you to wonder how their versions of the story ever got in the press in the first place when simple checks would have ruled them out. I guess when you want a story to happen, you maybe don't look too hard for evidence that contradicts it.
Mr Gibson did not need to look in the pot to know what it contained: the piles of feathers and stripped carcasses were evidence enough.
Mr Vowl did not need to look in the Daily Mail to know what it contained: the piles of shit spread around the front page were evidence enough.
Then, bizarrely, there's a photo from the Sun's article. Which has nothing to do with this story - same place, different date. Yet the links the Mail is trying to make are clear.
By the time he had alerted the authorities, the man - believed to be an East European immigrant - had packed up his tent and fled.
'Believed to be' - well, he must have been. There's no evidence, but he must have been!
Now police are trying to find who is behind the illegal swan slaughter on the banks of the River Lea at Paddock Community Nature Park, near Tottenham Hale.
Oh are they? I expect a full quote from a copper to appear in this article then to confirm this. Oh hang on a minute, it isn't there.
"I saw this man in his forties," said Mr Gibson, from Palmers Green. "He had thick stubble. He was cooking and next to him was a stack of swan wings.
"There was a bin bag with a swan on top of that. By the river there was another swan on top of a bag.
All these swans and he's still hungry. Yet you feel that there are certain questions the journalist didn't ask (or did they?). How close was this angler? Why didn't he do anything? Why is it relevant this man didn't shave? Why didn't he call the police straight away, rather than the rather fudged term of 'authorities'?
"I was disgusted. I don't care what nationality these people are. It's just appalling. If we let this carry on there will be no swans left."
You don't care but you don't know either. Where is the evidence this man was east European? Or an immigrant as opposed to a vagrant? There is none.
The authorities he alerted did not turn up until the next day. Mr Gibson said: "By the time they came down the bloke had gone. He must have thrown the carcasses away.
Must have. In the wheelie bin at the end of his tent? No? Then what did he do with them? Magicked them away with his tent? Considerately taken all his rubbish to the nearest recycling centre, including the incriminating bones?
"There were bits of bone and some feathers but there were no bones left."
Oh, just feathers. But we've got evidence to show they're swan feathers, yes? Oh, no photos. Odd.
The scene was visited later by Kevin Garten, a volunteer from Shepperton Swan Sanctuary.
He said: "Those carcasses were not stripped by animals. I know what foxes do. These were meticulously stripped and the head and neck were still attached - a fox would have had it straight off.
"I cannot definitely say it was human but I can definitely say it was no animal."
When the Evening Standard visited the park yesterday, we found a tent surrounded by rubbish, including discarded bottles, old shoes and a Romanian bible.
Couldn't even be bothered to re-write that bit. I see they found the same 'Romanian bible' the Sun did. Damning evidence!
Last month, Mr Garton and his colleagues rescued 39 swans from the area which had become fouled with oil and sewage.
He said: "It's just a filthy area - it always has been."
Even in the 1950s, when everything was great? But might the sewage and oil not be the reason why swans are dying and their bodies being found? No, it doesn't fit the narrative, therefore, ignore it.
The search for the smoking gun goes on...