Mama Mouse: [To her 9 children] My darling mouslings, it has taken us a while to settle into our new home in Newham General Hospital, after a bitterly cold and cruel winter. But we are comfortable and prosperous now, and I think we all deserve a treat.
Mouslings: Yay! Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate!
Papa Mouse: You shall all have chocolate, except our oldest son, Tim-Tim, who is addicted to crack. For him, we shall give him some scrapings of crack residue from a piece of foil that we found in Hackney. We have been saving it for a special occasion and this is certainly a special occasion.
Tim-Tim: Yay! Crack scrapings! Crack scrapings! Crack scrapings!
Mouslings: But mama, papa, where shall we go for all this chocolate? We are mice and most of the world wishes we were dead. We would not be welcome in most decent supermarkets.
Mama Mouse: Well, let's go to Asda. We should be fine there.
Mouslings: Yay! [Exeunt]
June 2005: The first sighting of chocaholic mice enjoying Cadbury's finest in the Lavender Hill branch of Asda. Further investigation in the store uncovered dirt, food debris, mouse droppings, grease and mouse urine in the kiosk, shop floor, bakery and warehouse areas. Environmental health officers were shocked to find mice, half-eaten confectionery and mouse droppings in the supermarket and Wandsworth Council were forced to prosecute the Asda chain.
The mouse-based melodrama has continued since then and now Asda faces up to £20,000 in fines if they lose their case against environmental health. After pleading guilty to charges of breaching food hygiene standards at South Western Magistrate's Court, Asda thought they were off the hook but then the magistrates sent the case higher, to the Crown Court, to ensure a more appropriate and severe sentence than they were capable of imposing.
In a bid to outdo that, Asda then complained to the High Court that they had been charged with one too many offences, and that they were only culpable for three and not four charges... which backfired when the High Court ruled that all four charges against the supermarket chain are necessary and worth up to £5,000 in fines each.
So those irritating Asda adverts showing happy shoppers slapping their bottoms to make their loose change jingle may finally come to an end. If the fines are imposed then there's not going to be much loose change in Asda's pockets, between the cushions of their sofa or in the tills. Those adverts with their annoying jingle (of both kinds) may be taken off air. Oh dear. What a pity.