Barry Cloughton, 78, from Cornwall drives a Reliant Robin. He parks it outside his home in St Austell. Twice in the last week, vandals have tipped it onto its side, causing considerable damage.
The BBC programme Top Gear featured a similar stunt last June (and repeated last Sunday), where Jeremy Clarkson tipped a Robin over in a similar fashion every time he walked past it. I think we can conclude that the two are not unconnected.
Mr Cloughton is clearly distressed by the events, but who does he blame? Well, that depends on who you are talking to. Bearing in mind that the BBC is the organisation that makes Top Gear, and the Daily Mail is a newspaper that relies on whipping up panic about non-existent threats, see if youj can guess which news organisation was responsible for each of the following quotes:
1. Reliant Robin attack blamed on 'Top Gear copy cats'
Former plumber Mr Cloughton told BBC News: "I don't blame Jeremy Clarkson, I blame the kids who did it.
2. Pensioner slams Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson after copycat pranksters roll his Reliant Robin over
It all followed Top Gear where a car like mine was being flipped over. I think they saw the broadcast and that put the idea into their heads. It might all be a laugh for Mr Clarkson but believe me this is not funny for me - I've been vandalised and nearly ended up in hospital.
Yup, (1) and (2).
Actually, I quite like Reliant Robins. A friend of mine used to have one when he got his first teaching post (another fell-by-the-wayside biker) and I was impressed. 60 mpg, nifty acceleration, and surprisingly good road-holding - until the back wheel lifted and you went straight on into a roundabout or tree. After all, 800cc, 450kg all-up weight and low gearing - what's not to like?