Monkeys are stealing mobile phones at London Zoo. Twelve tiny Latin American squirrel monkeys reside in a barrier-free enclosure designed to look and feel like a Bolivian rain forest and are free to get up close and personal to visitors wandering through. The orange-yellow creatures have been seen in tug-of-war situations, snatching mobile phones from the hands of humans and no one can quite figure out why. Perhaps they fancy an upgrade and can't be bothered to get down to Carphone Warehouse.
To deter the monkeys, London Zoo staff dressed in casual clothes (not the uniforms that the monkeys recognise) and walked through the enclosure with dummy mobile phones covered in... mustard. Monkeys, apparently, don't like mustard. After a few tries, the monkeys developed an aversion to the condiment covered portable telephonic devices and have so far ceased to pester their visitors as they did previously. Still, you've got to say it: cheeky monkeys. They're rather forgetful too, so London Zoo staff anticipate another round of Mustard Mobiles For Monkeys in a few months' time.
Mustard seems to be a fairly successful deterrent but our hardier friends in the north have a far more robust way of dealing with simian transgressors. Legend has it that in Hartlepool, during the Napoleonic war, the townsfolk found a monkey in a military uniform washed up on shore from a shipwreck and thought he was a French spy. They then proceeded to shave it, made it dance on a hot grid iron and then hanged the poor bastard. The story and the .mp3 is available here.
"He's all ower hair!" sum chap did cry,
E'en up te summic cute an' sly
Wiv a cod's head then they closed an eye,
Afore they hung the Monkey O!.
A banana-shaped 3G Motorola clam-type phone dipped in mustard (provide your own SIM card) goes to any reader who can tell us what those last lines mean.