Allotment holders from Kingston were the centre of an April Fool’s Day spoof story about a hosepipe amnesty.

Credulous readers saw in the Independent on Sunday that Britain’s worst drought for three decades had led to a Government-led Hand in your Hose campaign.

Gardeners from Addison Gardens allotments were pictured queuing to hand in their hosepipes outside Kingston police station.

Joan McConn, 65, was quoted as saying: “They've said that anyone caught with a hose can be kicked off the allotments.

“There are a lot of snitches and giving it to the police means you can't be accused of anything.”

She told the Surrey Comet: “They contacted me so say they had the idea of doing an amnesty for hose pipes like knife crime.

“Allotment holders were keen to get involved. There were 20 people with hosepipes outside the police station because they thought it was a laugh.

“They rang Thames Water who didn’t see the funny side.”

She said an elderly friend, who was also deaf, fell for the prank momentarily.

New Malden B&Q issued its own story in DIY Week announcing it was to sell urine as a natural composter for gardens under the slogan Wee&Q It. Customers could bring their own bottles into the store and receive the product for free.

The Surrey Comet’s own story, about householders facing a £25 fine if they did not put their clocks forward by nine minutes by noon, ran on our website.

Big Ben had been running 146 seconds a year faster than clocks in south London for the past four years, the story explained, because a civil servant responsible for dropping in a penny piece to keep it ticking had been made redundant due to Government cutbacks.