A rival paper to the Newquay Guardian – the Cornish paper which fell for hoax pictures of a great white shark said to have been spotted on the shores – sent a staffer in a shark costume to bait its journalists.
The Newquay Voice spoke to the man responsible for sending the pictures to the paper, who admitted he had taken the pictures in Africa and sent them in as a prank.
The Guardian carried the story on its front page and the story was picked up by The Sun and the rest of the national media.
Publisher and acting editor of the Voice, Andrew Laming said: ‘We broke the story that the pictures were rubbish. One of our reporters bumped into the photographer in a bar and he was quite candid about the fact it was a load of rubbish.
‘In fairness, [the Newquay Guardian] did contact him, but he supplied some very easily disprovable bits of information which anyone living in the town would find unlikely to be true.
‘The fishing boat the photographer said he was on was sold 15 years ago to a fisherman in Scotland and hasn’t been back since.
‘It raises questions about whether a local newspaper should be acting like the Daily Sport or whether it should take its civic role more seriously. It’s obviously silly season.”
Head of content at the Newquay Guardian, Matt Dixon, has defended his paper saying a series of checks had been made and said he was ‘sceptical’about the Voice’s sources.