Greggs bakery shops in Ashton, Manchester, Salford and Liverpool were targeted by angry mobs yesterday, after a hoax message on Twitter, announced that the company were withdrawing pasties from their product range.
The Greggs pastie is renowned as the staple diet of the working classes, and its devotees can been seen walking around town centres clutching its famous blue bag with the ubiquitous hot, greasy snack poking out of the top.
Thousands of the treats are consumed daily, by the lower ends of society, who cannot afford luxury foods such as baked beans or spaghetti hoops, and fears grew that there would be mass cases of starvation as low earners and benefit claimants were priced out of the food chain completely.
A Red Cross spokesman told us that the situation was so bad, that they were flying back 50,000 corned beef hash and 25,000 sausage and baked bean slices that were on their way to Syrian refugee camps.
Riot police and fire fighters were deployed in the affected areas, and police told us that by late afternoon the crowds had been dispersed and order had been restored. They did however say that there was still some areas of disorder in Liverpool, but they were hoping to restore order soon, as the police helicopter had circled low over the crowd dropping thousands of job application forms, which seemed to be scattering the rioters away from the trouble spots.
Late yesterday afternoon the chairman of Greggs, Sir Fred Battenburg, told a hastily gathered press conference that they had been the victims of a malicious hoax, and that the company had no intentions of withdrawing its best selling product. He went on to say that the company did intend to remove an item from their shops next month, namely the fruit scone, as this was not a big seller with mainstream pastie eaters. He appealed for calm in the affected areas, and assured customers that the fire damaged stores would be open for business as soon as possible.
Last night police reported that groups of angry pensioners and housewives had gathered outside Greggs shops in the stockbroker areas of Hale, Wilmslow, Bowden and Alderly Edge.
A spokesman said the protesters were angrily tapping on the shop windows with umbrellas and shoe heels, and shouting "shame on you" "how dare you" and "do you know who I am" at staff who had locked the doors in panic.
An elderly woman, believed to be chair of the Dunham Massey Womens Guild, Lady Dorothy Schiffer-Brains, was arrested by police and later charged with 'aggressively prodding a police officer with a rolled up copy of Cheshire Life.
Lady Schiffer-Brains is due to appear before Knutsford magistrates later today.