Bored anoraks at Staffordshire University's Silly Science department at Stoke-on-Pork have been using dead pigs and geophysics to develop research that could help police find the buried remains of murder victims in unmarked graves faster after it was realised murderers were not in the habit of erecting headstones over their victims' shallow graves.
Five pigs duly destined for the sausage and bacon run have been buried in shallow graves in the Dean's greenhouse and daffodil patch so scientists can study their decomposition rates.
Researchers said it meant they could build up a template which would help police locate buried human remains in typically British rural countryside areas like landfill sites and back gardens when sweeping areas with specialist geophysical instruments.
Head researcher Dr. Doris Snout, a reformed rhubarb addict, said pig flesh had similar properties to human flesh, which was vital for a decent comparison.
"We're not allowed to use human tissue in the UK unless you're running a secret genetic research lab' for the government's alien cloning projects, so pigs are a reasonable second choice. They're the same size as us, smell about the same and have similar hair, skin and body-fat ratio."
The 12-stone pigs, identical in size and body weight to the average UK couch potato, were reared on a traditional British chew n spew junkfood diet to produce the desired body type : fat and bloated.
PhD student Francis Bacon told reporters "Tests have found that 'naked' pigs bodies decomposed very quickly and are about 10,000 times more conductive than the water in the surrounding soil, while tests on the pigs in chav shell suits showed the current was forced to travel around the pig's body, if that makes any sense."
Similar geophysical testing was used to find the remains of Red Riding Hood's butchered and cannibalised body in the Fred Wolf / Cannock Chase serial killer case.
Wolf, who was also charged with murdering twelve sows and a trans-sexual boar, escaped trial by committing suicide in his prison cell in January 2007 by biting his own head off.
His wife Rosemary Wolf, now 50, was committed to ten life sentences in August 2007 for the murder of three little pigs after she blew their house down.
Her plea that some of her best friends were porkies was struck from the court record.
Professor Betsy Trotter, of Staffordshire University informed the media "This method of detection proved vital in the tracking down and capture of the killers of Blue Peter's Harry the Hog who was pig-napped from his BBC sty last year and held for ransom by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Luton, before they got hungry and ate most of him for lunch."