UK intelligence agency GCHQ has spent weeks attempting to decipher a secret WWII message found on a dead pigeons leg that was discovered up a chimney in leafy Surrey.
After initially appealing to the public for help they've finally cracked it themselves.
GCHQ's top man, Cody Breaker, explained the find. "A gentleman in Surrey was renovating his chimney when he came across parts of a dead pigeon. Among those parts was the poor birds leg. Attached to the leg was a red canister with a message inside."
The message was written in blocks of code. After four weeks of attempting to work it out Mr Breaker was able to reveal the once top secret contents.
Mr Breaker read out the decoded message at a packed press conference. "This message is irrelevant to the war effort. We've attached it to a pigeon that keeps getting stuck in chimneys, so, if you're reading this please keep the bloody bird. We don't want him back. He's useless."
We asked Mr Breaker why a message like that had been written in code given it wasn't exactly top secret. He told us, "I believe that whoever wrote the message followed the usual protocol and hadn't been told to just write it in plain English."
One of the reporters at the press conference was Harry Vermin of the 'Pigeon Fanciers Monthly' magazine. Upon hearing the message, an enraged Mr Vermin leapt to his feet to berate Mr Breaker, "That pigeon is a bleedin' war hero. How dare you call him useless."
In response, Mr Breaker explained they were able to trace exactly which pigeon had been carrying the message and found that the bird in question was regarded as the most incompetent one they'd used during the second world war. As described in the now decoded message, the bird had got stuck up a chimney almost every time he'd been sent out on a mission. The pigeon had been up so many chimneys the staff at Bletchley Park gave him the nickname 'Santa.'
During the second world war officials at Bletchley Park, which was the UK's main decryption establishment, had considered retiring the pigeon or wringing it's neck but they didn't have the heart to do it.
The press conference ended with Mr Breaker telling reporters, "We have informed the pigeons relatives. Despite his obvious incompetence I expect they're very proud of his efforts. His remains will be buried with full military honours a week on Tuesday or next Friday, whichever is soonest."