Residents of an exclusive area of Stalybridge were up in arms this week after accusing a local aristocrat of stealing their share of the days sunlight.
The leafy stockbroker area of Mottram Rise was close to mutiny as the last of a vast array of solar panels were fitted to the Duke of Mottram's home at Hereford Hall. One local resident, who wished not to be named, told me "We used to have hot sunny days around here years ago, then this bugger has all these solar panels fitted, and next thing is sunshine, but no heat. I reckon its them bloody panels of his that are draining the sun as it passes over. We've telephoned friends up the road in Tintwistle, and they say its red hot near them, but here its bright and chilly all the time".
The man at the centre of this controversy is Donald, (74), the 12th Duke of Mottram, whose large stately home has been completely covered in solar panels recently.
The head butler to the Duke, Soames, told us "We really don't know what all the fuss is about". " The residents have got it all wrong, its just a storm in a Royal Doulton tea cup".
"The Duke is merely doing his bit for the planet, and making a few quid on the side as well" "It takes a lot of power to run a house this size. You only have to take into account her ladyships endless hours of television watching whilst using her electric foot spa, and there's a few grand a year gone instantly".
I asked Mr Soames what the Duke was doing with the surplus electricity he was generating. He replied " He sells it back to the National Grid, which in turn uses it to power most of Stalybridge, all of Saddleworth, a small place in Yorkshire, who's name eludes me, and most of Hyde".
So wouldn't this now make the Duke a multi millionaire, I asked ?. At this point Mr Soames became a little agitated, "If you are asking about the Dukes financial affairs, the European holiday home, Swiss and Turkish bank accounts, business trips abroad, and the holding company in Luxembourg, who own 90% of Hereford Hall Electric, and the company accountant in Guernsey. ? " I'm sorry but I wouldn't know anything about such matters. Now, would it be at all possible for sir to piss off, as Ive got the silverware to polish before luncheon ".
Later I managed to speak to the Duke, (74), and asked him if he was about to instigate a tax avoidance operation regarding his new power venture.
He told me "Au contraire, one always pays one's dues when one's due is due".
"I must say I am shocked to be the subject of the gutter press in this way. I am personally named - in full nomenclature and any nut job or fuckwit out there who wishes ill towards moi can easily trace one through the none-too-subtle clues you have proliferated throughout the obscene article. I am probably too late to affect the publication of this horrendity, but I shall, through my soliciting firm, Writs R Us and Sons, be seeking an injunction and possibly a super injunction to prevent your grubby little rag from ever operating again. I hope to see all the staff sacked and turned out of their homes and thrown onto the streets forthwith, if not possibly sooner".
The Duke is no stranger to controversy, The Spoof can reveal that in June 2010 he was ordered to do 20 hours of community service, for submitting an expenses claim for £22,500 to the House of Commons for a "second home" allowance, even though he wasn't a member of Parliament at the time. The excuse, that he thought all members of the aristocracy were entitled to it, was upheld by the presiding magistrate.
It is believed that the Duke ordered his footman, Edward Gawkins (22), to actually do the 20 hours service, although this has never been proven.