Sun Probes Church Toilets in Cocaine Quest

The Sun has a “White Xmas Exclusive”:

Ding Dong Merrily We’re High: The Sun finds cocaine traces in iconic churches

EXCLUSIVE: Signs of drug found at Canterbury headquarters and 11 out of 25 top institutions

THE loos at some of Britain’s most iconic places of worship show signs of cocaine abuse, a Sun probe can reveal.

Our investigators discovered evidence members of the public really did have a white Christmas at 11 out of 25 top cathedrals and churches — including the Church of England’s HQ…

This is what I believe is known in the trade as a “non-story” – a number of churches and cathedrals that are also tourist destinations have toilets attached, and it appears that cocaine has been handled in some of these. These are not toilets that are reserved for clergy or churchgoers, and in some cases (such as Canterbury, for instance) they are accessed without entering the main building and so serve as public conveniences for passersby as well as for visitors.

The reference to the “Church of England’s HQ” is particularly mischievous, suggestive of Lambeth Palace (the Church’s administrative centre, which is not open to the public) rather than Canterbury Cathedral, which has spiritual primacy, and which is where one of the tests took place.

The Sun ran a similar stunt in 2013, focusing on the Houses of Parliament – that was at least a bit more interesting, as although the buildings are open to the public, security is tight and it is not a casual destination.

The trusty Crackdown Drug Testing Ltd “Cocaine Swab Drug Test” (available in a pack of ten for £16) was deployed again a few weeks ago to provide the shocking confirmation that cocaine had been handled in a pub in Brixton – the context here was that the pub had just been used as the venue for a Christmas party for supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, and the Sun wished to run a story about “Hard-Left Labour group in drug shame”. This story can be fairly characterised as a smear, but the paper perhaps wished to appear even-handed shortly after running an unbylined story  under the headline “Elliott Johnson dad claims Tories ‘openly snorted’ cocaine at boat party”.

It seems that Sun hack Matt Quinton was so flushed by his Brixton success that he has decided to make a full-time career from investigative toilet swabbing. One photo shows Quinton posing next to a toilet seat while brandishing a wipe, although he’s risking a nasty rash: his hands are bare, whereas the the product blurb cautions that the wipes contain “Cobalt Thiocyanate, which may cause irritation to skin” and that “the use Latex Gloves is recommended when handling the swabs”.