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Last Updated: Monday, 19 May, 2003, 18:39 GMT 19:39 UK
Coffee table coffin raises no laughs
Mr Fowell said his wife was in the coffin
A retired manager who uses a coffin as a coffee table was visited by police after social workers spotted his unusual furniture and reported him.

Mick Fowell, 64, from Gimingham, near Cromer, Norfolk, told police the coffin was for his own use and the lounge was the safest place to keep it.

Mr Fowell said he was visited by officers after two voluntary social service workers came to his home and saw the coffin.

Joking to the pair, he told them his wife was inside.

"To lighten the atmosphere I jokingly said 'Don't bother her, it's the quietest she's been for 40 years'.

"They rapidly left."

Apology requested

Inspector Mervyn Pollard from Norfolk Police said they had been contacted by social services who said there was a coffin in Mr Fowell's house.

The police were also told there was some sort of smell and even a number of flies.

"A report like that you have to take seriously," said Inspector Pollard.

Mr Fowell said he had bought the mock oak coffin earlier this year in order to plan for his funeral because he lived alone and had no family.

"I just have flowers on it and use it as a coffee table."

He has asked Norfolk County Council social services for an apology.

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