Trafalgar Square, London - (Associated Mess): Archaeologists probing the remains of a decapitatied first century AD skeleton believe they have stumbled upon the victim of draconian Roman-rule traffic laws, executed for straying into Londinium's central hub without registering his ass for the dreaded toll tithe, precursor of today's congestion charge.
The stark findings are a grim reminder of the penalties faced by ancient Britons who disobeyed the autocratic laws of the elected mayor - a dastardly rogue called Tightass Hystericus - whose powers to impose penurious taxes on ordinary city dwellers was notorious throughout the Empire.
Today's discovery confirms earlier suspicions that citizens of the capital were subjected to pitiless and farcical petty regulations by a fanatic who believed that the city was being slowly poisoned by methane emissions from beasts of burden, which have now been replaced by the motor car.
Documents authenticated by the British Museum have shown that Hystericus was so obsessed with air quality in Londinium that at one stage he ordered all transportation animals within the city walls to be fitted with under-tail pouches fragranced with herbs - the first century equivalent of a catalytic converter.
Hystericus died a broken man in tragic circumstances, after a peasants' revolt that followed his over-ambitious extension of the congestion charge into fields traditionally given over to wanton merry-making.
Legend has it that he was abducted one night by brigands who blind-folded him and trussed him up before tossing him into a slurry pit where carbon monoxide emissions were so strong that his health was irrepairibly damaged.
The site of this tragedy is now occupied by a Happy Eater restaurant/diner.