When pumps at a local reservoir failed, depriving a large housing estate of its supply, the authorities in Banbury responded by supplying 68,000 bottles of water to the area - the equivalent of twelve litres for every man, woman and child living in the estate.
Remember the '76 drought? All those people standing patiently in line, waiting to fill their bottles from the bowsers at street corners? Think again; welcome to Great Britain, 2011 AD*.
A water delivery driver in Oxfordshire was forced to abandon his supply of emergency bottles after he was threatened by a group of residents.
The contractor concerned was outnumbered by a group who verbally abused him and refused to allow him to take his delivery to another part of the estate - physically removing the bottles from his truck.Desperate people taking desperate measures, perhaps? Well, not exactly; other areas of the town were unaffected and there was plenty of bottled water in the local supermarkets. In any case, according to an eye-witness: “Kids have been coming down the street nicking water and throwing it over themselves.”
Bretch Hill does, it's fair to say, enjoy a certain notoriety; bus shelters traditionally have an average life of around two weeks, and elderly ladies returning from their weekly bingo night need security guards to protect them from being robbed of their meagre winnings by feral youngsters.
This, however, is something new and more sinister; the original estate population, once a proud and self-sufficient community (and I use the word in the real sense), is aging fast and what were a minority group of teenage thugs have grown up and passed their lack of social responsibility on to their numerous offspring.
There's something deeply depressing about the sight of police supervising the distribution of bottled water because some of the locals are incapable of behaving like civilised human beings; sadly, if the riots are anything to go by, unless something radical happens soon, this may well be the future of Britain.
*For anyone upset by this dating system, I'd like to point out that a) I'm an atheist, but that's the system I grew up with and I'm used to it and b) today is Wednesday, or rather Woden's Day; I don't believe in Woden and I bet you don't either, so what do you want me to do about that?