THE Wigan Evening Post’s exclusive story of a local man who admitted trying to have sex with a Royal Mail postbox has been read all around the world.
After the story was posted online, most of the national newspapers picked up the article about drunken Paul Bennett and his lewd act in Scholes Precinct.
And ‘Sam Box’ is today’s (Saturday) Sun page 3 girl.
Social media was also abuzz with the report. Celebrities including football pundit Rodney Marsh and comic Jason Manford were among those retweeting the article.
Tweets to our @WigToday account came in from as far afield as France, Spain, India, Canada and America.
Unsurprisingly most of the remarks were of a nature too saucy to be repeated in a family newspaper. But among the milder comments were:
“Just when you think that you’ve heard everything there is something like this comes along and makes you think that there is no hope for humanity.” - Owd Bryner
“Jeez what the hell is wrong with people?” - Cheryl Dewhurst
One tweeter added: “This could only happen in Wigan!”
And when our digital editor went out to film the scene yesterday (Friday) one wise-cracking passer-by who had clearly read the article shouted: “Hands off: she’s mine!”
Bennett, of Holborn Avenue, Worsley Mesnes, pleaded guilty at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court this week to two charges of indecent exposure as well as using threatening and abusive words and abusive behaviour.
The 45-year-old was spotted by a female witness in the shopping arcade on September 9 last year.
Prosecutor Katie Beattie said the complainant saw the drunken Bennett arguing with a woman.
After the woman left, Bennett lay down on a bench in the precinct and started to shout.
The court was told he sat up and the witness saw him expose himself and pull his trousers down. He then began performing a sex act and walked over to the postbox and “started to make sexual advances towards it.”
The court was told the worker then witnessed Bennett rubbing up against the postbox with his trousers down before walking away.
The defendant’s arms were raised in a star position, he was continuing to expose himself and he was shouting “wow”.
Police were called by the disgusted witness and officers arrived to find him still exposing himself.
The court heard Bennett became agitated and clenched his teeth as he shouted and swore at the officers.
Bennett was handed a 12-month community order with an alcohol treatment and supervision requirement. He was also ordered to pay £50 compensation to the victim, £150 court costs and £60 victim surcharge.
Bennett was also notified to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register.
When approached at his home yesterday, Bennett declined to comment.