Local man, Martin Shuttlecock was viewed with deep suspicion today by friends and family members as news emerged that he has not partaken of any form of alcoholic beverage since January 1st 2010.
Shuttlecock, who grew up in the hard drinking, hard living north-west of England has always been regarded by those who know him as a bloke who likes a drink, so it should come as no surprise that his sudden descent into abstainance has raised many eyebrows.
"There's something fishy going on here," one family member who declined to be named told us. "He's up to something. I've never known him without a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. His whole house used to smell like a pre-smoking ban pub - now it smells of flowers and cooking. He can be a sly bastard at times. If he's stopped drinking, you can bet your life that there's an ulterior motive behind it."
Shuttlecock's long suffering wife Anne was a little more forgiving, telling us:
"It's nice when I come home from a late shift at work to communicate with a fully functioning human being, as opposed to a shambling, frequently semi coherent wreck."
"I reckon that spoof website's got something to do with all this," close friend Nicky Tubbs told us. "He hasn't been the same since he started putting articles up on there. I reckon he's been brainwashed and that the website is little more than a front for a sinister cult."
In order to get to the bottom of the mystery, we spoke to Shuttlecock himself and asked what was behind eschewing the miracle of alcoholic stimulation? He told us:
"Let's get this straight. Yes, I haven't had a drink for a while, but I have not stopped drinking for any specific reason. It's not about health, it isn't connected to relationships with other people, it isn't because I'm on some moral crusade making a point about the evils of drink. And it is certainly not a (expletive deleted) New Year's resolution - I don't believe in that crap."
So what did prompt Martin Shuttlecock to stop drinking?
"I haven't stopped drinking!" he told us. "I like drinking. I just stopped because I was getting sick of it. I was on the bevvy all over the Christmas and New Year holiday and I just didn't feel like drinking. I'm not drinking now, simply because I don't feel like it. When I do feel like it, I'll have a drink. Okay?"
Despite his protestations to the contrary, we remain convinced that Martin Shuttlecock is losing the plot, so we retired to the nearest pub to discuss the matter further.
More when we've sobered up.