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Best not suck your thumb in this neighbourhood

Reading Location Tour 5: 'Cautionary Valley'

The neighbourhood centred on Compton Avenue to the West of the town goes by the epithet 'Cautionary Valley', coined by the Nursery Crime Division to explain the fact that for over twenty years characters from children's cautionary tales came frighteningly and violently true. Play with matches or suck your thumb and it was possible that you would fall victim to either spontaneous human combustion or a double thumbectomy, courtesy of the Great red-legg'd scissorman, who until his dramatic capture by officers of the NCD in July 2004, lived in these parts.

Although a successful operation, the scissorman capture was described by Josh Hatchett in the The Mole as 'foolhardy' and DCI Spratt was reprimanded for his use of children in the operation.

Charged and convicted of grevious wounding, the scissorman was sentenced to fifteen years in prison, but escaped during transportation. His wherabouts are unknown, but parents in the Reading area are being advised not to let their children suck their thumsb, just in case.

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