Lancashire nostalgia in 1980: Lost 'croc' on M55, Mick's joke backfires and perfect parking

PC Alan Whitefoot and PC Philip Walsh, on horseback, searching the M55 for a lost lizard which a driver reported to police after he ran over it
PC Alan Whitefoot and PC Philip Walsh, on horseback, searching the M55 for a lost lizard which a driver reported to police after he ran over it

Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 1980:

The riddle of a lost lizard on the M55

The tale of the vanishing crocodile, which disappeared after a motorist ran over its tail on the M55 motorway near Preston, took a fresh twist when Fulwood police said they believed the reptile was a six-foot monitor lizard.

After the “croc” was spotted by three drivers, it vanished into long undergrowth at the side of the motorway, and police with dog-handlers searched one and a half miles on one side of the motorway until evening, without finding it.

“We have been told this could be a monitor lizard which grows to six feet long, and can climb trees,” said a police officer.

“There are thick hedgerows, but no woods, and there is agricultural ground with seven or eight small ponds in the surrounding countryside. People nearby have been alerted.”

The driver who reported running over the amphibian’s tail said he did so as it scuttled across the fast route and on to the hard shoulder.

Mounted policemen and dog handlers joined the search, and even Assistant Chief Constable Joe Mounsey visited the scene of the last sighting.

READ MORE: Look back at a selection of pictures from 1980 here

CannonBall blast for joker Mick

Top comedy duo Cannon and Ball have fired a message at amateur funny guy Mick Higgins. And it says... “Rock off Micky!”

For they reckon that part-time footballer Mick isn’t playing the game with his impersonation of Bobby “Rock on Tommy” Ball.

Mick, who plays for Chorley Football Club, has had his team-mates in fit of laughter with his baggy pants and braces routine.

But a moment of madness on Blackpool Prom where Cannon and Ball have just started a summer season at the North Pier has backfired on 23-year-old Mick.

Mick is such a Bobby Ball lookalike that a crowd of nearly 200 Blackpool visitors mistook him for the genuine article.

Tommy Cannon said: “We’re not keen on him messing about in Blackpool.”

Robert's parking is a little unusual

Robert Tallon hit the roof on his way home, parked his car upside down, and went for a cup of tea.

“I was trying to get hold of some loose bottles of pop which were rolling about on the passenger seat,” said Mr Tallon, 36.

Mr Tallon, of School Lane, Staveley, near Kendal, described how his car momentarily mounted the kerb as he tried to restrain the rolling bottles.

He was driving along Sandes Avenue in Kendal when he hit the pavement. Instead of returning to the roadway with a turn of the steering wheel, the car hit a road sign and rolled up it.

“The car turned over on its roof,” he said. Mr Tallon climbed out and saw that although his vehicle was upside down it was neatly parked outside the Palladium Cinema.

As he was totally unhurt he decided to go for a cup of tea in the Pop Inn, and that is where police and ambulance men found him when they arrived to investigate the upside down car.

After questioning by Kendal police, Mr Tallon was allowed to continue his journey home to Staveley none the worse for introducing his new parking style.