A convicted criminal has made an astonishing complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, on the grounds that being in prison infringes his basic human rights.
Barry Knuckles, a lifelong petty crook and infamous thug, was jailed for the attempted robbery of the local supermarket where he was working. Unfortunately, when he tried to get the automatic checkout machine to give him all its cash, it refused to comply and just told him repeatedly, "Object found in bagging area".
Knuckles is now serving a 5 year term in Wormwood Scrubs, one of Britain's worst prisons. But he has found a loophole in the Human Rights Act which may mean he is free in weeks.
"It's quite simple," said his lawyer Geoffrey Chancer. "The Act says that everyone has the right to liberty. There is nothing in there to say that prisoners are not included in having that right." Mr Chancer has a personal interest in the outcome too, as he is Knuckles' fellow inmate.
If the pair are successful in bringing their case to the European Court, then it is possible that all prisons across the EU will have to close. However, Minister of Justice Herbert Clamp didn't think that was likely. He said, "We have a plan of action in the event that prisons are declared illegal by the HRA. We will simply declare all prisoners to be sub-human scum - which they are - and then the Act does not apply."