Police bandits

The RAF, truly, is the motorist's friend.

Canteen chatter currently centres on a heart-warming incident in which a pair of traffic policemen manning a speed-trap in Grampian directed their radar gun at a Range Rover speeding towards the crest of a hill.

To their surprise, the speed reading rocketed up to 366mph and then jammed. Shortly afterwards two low-flying Tornado fighter jets screamed over the crest of the hill. What the bobbies didn't know is that they came within an ace of being blown to smithereens. When their speed gun locked on to the fighters by accident, the tactical battle computer in the cockpit detected the radar lock and sent out the signal that jammed it. It also automatically armed and targeted an air-to-ground missile. Had the Tornados not been on training exercises, the computer would have let fly without pausing to consult the pilot.

The consensus in the RAF seems to be that it's a shame these precautions exist.

"THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, Peterborough column", 28 JANUARY 2000