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The Daily Toad: Proudly disseminating sensationalised rubbish since 1645. 18th March 2008.

Coach, abandoned from sixties,
found teetering on cliff

A nesting box

Found untouched after almost 40 years

A house martin nest

Coach related to the unsolved Turin bullion theft?

A house martin nest

How the thieves may have met their end

Italian police were last night baffled by the discovery of an English-registered coach that had somehow remained in a precariously balanced position on a road in the Italian Alps for over four decades.

"The discovery was reported to us last week by walkers who had stumbled across an old road blocked by a rock-fall sometime in the late sixties," explained a spokesperson, "It seems incredible that the coach has not only remained undiscovered in all this time, but was still balancing half on and half off the road when found."

The Harrington Legionnaire coach, easily recognised by its unique twin front axle steering system, was reportedly in excellent condition, with only a badly faded paint work and a thin layer of rust to show for the forty or so winters it has endured. More remarkable still was the discovery inside of the skeletal remains of at least seven people, and a quantity of gold.

"We are keeping an open mind," explained Commissioner Cavacuiti at a packed news conference in Turin yesterday, "but the discovery of this coach may shed some light on an unsolved theft in 1968, when a quantity of gold was stolen from a security van in the centre of Turin, loaded into three Mini-Coopers and then spirited from the city during a traffic jam."

The crime was thoroughly investigated at the time by Italian and British police, but very little evidence was unearthed and it was thought the gang had simply 'gone to ground'. The three minis were eventually recovered from where they had been pushed down a mountainside, but despite a two year search for the missing gold, nothing turned up - until now.

"At first glance it looks as though the gold is untouched," explained the Commissioner, "but we are having some difficulties retrieving the bullion, as every time we try to reach it, the coach rocks downwards and the gold slides out of our reach, thus making the recovery operation extremely hazardous."

As soon as heavy lifting gear can be brought in to counterbalance the weight of the gold, investigation of the human remains can be subjected to DNA testing to see if they can be identified. It is generally believed the remains might be that of the original thieves, who found themselves trapped in a deadly game of see-saw that saw them slowly starve to death.

Underworld anecdotal evidence has always suggested that ace robber and lady's man Charles Croker may have been involved in the theft, and his disappearance soon after the heist tended to lend support to this supposition. More outlandish theories that the whole thing could have been dreamt up by underworld boss Mr Bridger have recently been shown to be false, as he was in prison at the time.

Josh Hatchett, reporting for The Toad.

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