The sleepy Essex village of Landfill Tawny was thrown into the media spotlight today surrounding allegations of serious wrong doings at the Moonfruit Euthanasia Clinic.
Landfill Tawny, a small village usually only mentioned in tourist guides is now in the news for a more dark and sinister reason.
It is alleged that the Moonfruit clinic has been offering its euthanasia services to families purely on the basis of financial gain. Further claims have been made that directors of Moonfruit clinic have been covertly encouraging families with elderly rich relatives to use their services as a means of debt management.
The Moonfruit clinic is the only legal euthanasia centre in the UK. It is built on the site of an old barber shop in Schit Street, Landfill tawny. According to parish records the barber shop dates back to the Middle Ages and had a licence to perform medical procedures up to and including euthanasia, "topping" as it was called then. This licence was automatically passed over to the Moonfruit clinic by council officials in 1987.
The clinic is said to offer families a "one stop shop" approach to euthanasia. The centre has onsite will writers and a resident doctor who always sites the cause of death as natural causes.
Legal experts called in by the met police claim that this sort of practice is wholly unethical and possibly borderline illegal.
The met police, who are heading the investigation, have also enlisted the help of Takeit and Legit, a firm of forensic accountants to oversee the clinics books.
So far three local newspapers have been investigated in relation to offences surrounding the Moonfruit scandal. The Essex Herald, The Landfill Tawny Echo and the Slurry Bottom Gazette are all owned by Essex Media International (EMI), the same company that owns the Moonfruit clinic.
Detective inspector Nick Speeders has said that all three newspapers have been illicit in promoting the clinic and its services.
EMI director Rupert Murder also owns the Soylent Green biscuit factory in Landfill Tawny.
Problems started for the clinic last spring when the advertising watchdog forced them to remove adverts offering a two for the price of one deal. The amended advert, buy one get one free was also taken down by the watchdog on the grounds that it was deemed likely to persuade potential customers into prematurely using their services. They also put forward several recommendations including changing the name of the treatment room from "departure lounge" to something more dignified.
This most recent scandal only came to light when Off Dead, the body that oversees euthanasia clinics arrive for a unannounced spot check and uncovered several anomalies in the clinics diary. Ten people with appointments were chosen at random and interviewed. Of these, one said he thought he was going on holiday, five believed they were going to visit relatives and the other four said they were going in for a routine blood test.
Off Dead has also recommended that the clinics brochure be amended. They said that being old, annoying and smelling of wee were not in their opinion sufficient grounds for euthanasia. In fact these reasons fell well below the benchmark of what is considered reasonable grounds.
Detective inspector Nick Speeders told us that at the moment his team were investigating possible links between the clinic and increased output at the Soylent Green biscuit factory.
So far Mr Murder has refused to make any comment on these allegations but his chief executive Becky Redhead is quoted as saying; "The Moonfruit clinic has always acted responsibly and within the law. Neither Mr Murder or myself have been party to any of the alleged wrong doings at the clinic. We intend to fully cooperate with any police investigation and have informed our staff to do likewise"
Shortly after making that statement Miss Redhead resigned from her post as chief executive sighting medical reasons.
We will keep you updated as this story unfolds.