Following the dubious award of Top Crap Town UK for the fifth year running, the residents of Baconsthorpe seem to have embraced the notoriety of their depressing abode.
Mayor Jimmy (The Knife) Roberto has taken out a full page advertisement this week in the Pig & Trotter Gazette, praising the community for its "grit and determination" in resisting the pressure of the "Makeover Police" to overhaul the town's image.
A sinister undercurrent has emerged this year, however. I spoke to a group of locals, each dressed in army fatigues and a black balaclava. They made several allegations about Jimmy Roberto's "gangland lifestyle," speaking freely of "coercion", "slush fund" and "bigamy."
It was bizarre to observe these people dispersing commando style into the night, flinging themselves over hedges and rolling over the tops of stationary cars. I believe there were one or two light fractures.
A number of other listed towns are desperate to make it to Number One. Turton Bottoms and Snitterby, for example, have worked tirelessly over the year in the face of strong opposition from parts of their respective communities.
Graffiti has been improved; more shops have been boarded up; dandelions have been lovingly nurtured in green areas. Mrs Iva Boyle of Snitterby complained: "Members of the Allotment group replace the hanging baskets and window boxes almost as soon as we've destroyed them. It's a constant battle."
Other towns, widely known for their success in 'Britain in Bloom' competitions, are inexplicably trying to make their mark on the Crap Towns list.
Scarlet Crooton from Carlton Scroop told us that committee types were notoriously "up their own arses" and most folk would be delighted to "stay away from the frigging garden centre for the forseeable." She is gaining considerable publicity in the neighbourhood following the installation of a septic tank on her front lawn.
I met Frank McFadden of Ecclefechan as he was dumping three old mattresses on the pavement outside his neighbour's house. "Getting into the top ten Crap Towns is my life's dream," he told me. Frank had already tipped a truckload of slurry into his garden pond and painted offensive words on his gable end wall.
What did his neighbour make of these actions? Not much, it turns out. He's the Chairman of the 'Britain in Bloom' committee. Happy days.
"There's still a lot of work to do before next year's competition," added Frank. "Potholes to dig in the high street and a knackered old tea caravan to tow up to the Town Hall for starters."