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The Accidental Travails of a Long Distance Umpire

Umpire Larry Tugg has been freed from prison and is due to arrive in the United Kingdom early tomorrow morning.

His release comes one week after the Hoggshire based cricket official was caught in possession of an exotic egg and a range of illegal drugs at Kandahar International Airport.

Lawyers representing Tugg successfully argued that he was innocent on the grounds that he did not know he was breaking the law.

In her first interview since her brother's arrest, Betty Tugg reveals how easy it is for an unworldly provincial umpire to unknowingly become an international drug smuggler.

PDCC:

What was Larry doing in Afghanistan in the first place?

Betty Tugg:

He was at a bit of a loose end this winter so he found himself an umpiring job in Afghanistan. Within a week he was rotting in a Kandahar prison cell.

PDCC:

What went wrong?

Betty Tugg:

His problems started when someone warned him about the Taliban. Larry isn't interested in world affairs and thought he was banned from watching telly.

All of a sudden he had a lot of free time on his hands so he decided to take up reading to pass the time between matches.

He found out about a marketplace that sells cheap books in the Helmand Province so he set off on a donkey the very next day.

PDCC:

How bazaar! What is he interested in?

Betty Tugg:

Popeye the Lord's Taverners President Man (1954)

Popeye comics but none were to be found in Helmand. Larry was advised to meet a man in a cave so he rode there.

PDCC:

How did he get on?

Betty Tugg:

Running jump – it wasn't a very big donkey.

PDCC:

Did he get his comic?

Betty Tugg:

Just an opium poppy; but he was told about a man called Kheda who lived in a mine and might be able to help him.

PDCC:

So he went there?

Betty Tugg:

Eventually; he got lost and had to ask a vet for directions. He said: “Can you help me; I need to find Kheda Mine?”

PDCC:

So that's how he bought the Ketamine?

Betty Tugg:

Just a small amount but it was more than enough when the donkey needed throat surgery.

PDCC:

Well you did say it was only a little hoarse.

I understand he eventually found Kheda. How did he go this time?

Betty Tugg:

He bought a puppy.

PDCC:

Women have been allowed inside the Lord's Pavilion since 1998 - but Claire from pop band Steps still can't get in.

I hope it wasn't an Afghan hound. They always remind me of Claire from Steps - the one that was friends with H.

Mind you; she'd be a handy person to have around in a place like that if you were after cheap cigarettes.

Betty Tugg:

What could she do to help?

PDCC:

Fag haggle.

Betty Tugg:

I see what you mean – but it was only a Ka-bulldog.

Anyway, Larry persevered with Kheda. He decided to try another tack, saying: “Olive Oyl. I want Olive Oyl.”

PDCC:

Any luck?

Betty Tugg:

He bought a live owl.

Larry was starting to lose his temper by now but Kheda remained very calm.

PDCC:

He must have been a nomad.

So what did Larry do?

Betty Tugg:

He explained that Olive Oyl was married to Popeye the Sailor. That she was a fierce fighter and a real heroine.

PDCC:

I take it that's when he bought the heroin?

Betty Tugg:

Yes. He thought it was brown sugar. Mind you it could have been worse.

PDCC:

I don't see how.

Betty Tugg:

Tugg initially doubted the authenticity of his 'live' owl (left): "My fears were put to rest when the vultures started to take an interest."

The only other thing he reads is Boys Annual.

But he was out of money and had to concede defeat. He decided Afghanistan wasn't for him so he rode to the airport to catch the next plane home.

Larry was worried I would leave him if I found out about his spending spree so he hid an owl egg and what he believed to be sugar and a flower in the lining of his suitcase.

PDCC:

It sounds more like he was the one with the dessert plans.

Then what happened?

Betty Tugg:

Well you know the rest. He was arrested, detained, and eventually released.

PDCC:

After eating prison and airline food for a week I suspect he is looking forward to a nice home cooked meal. Have you anything special planned?

Betty Tugg:

Well he has quite a sweet tooth so I am going to make him a pudding.

PDCC:

Nothing too custardy I hope.