What has a controversial and sinister scientific institute got to do with the government’s plans to slash the welfare budget by another ten billion pounds? What is the connection between the Department of Work and Pensions and the disappearance of hundreds of poor pensioners? Amid rumours of mobile ‘euthanasia machines’ roaming the streets of the London Borough of Newham, luring the old, infirm and poor to their doom, a local councillor is accusing the government of secretly funding the shadowy Heaven on Earth Institute – an organisation he claims is dedicated to implementing massive savings in welfare spending by ‘disappearing’ its most vulnerable recipients. “They started advertising here a few months ago – bill boards, local papers, even door-to-door leafleting,” Ron Oddlington, a Labour councillor in Newham, one of London’s poorest boroughs, told The Sleaze. “They seemed to be making these fantastic claims to offer some kind of scientific ‘afterlife’, where suitable people can enter a ‘paradise’ of sorts, where they will be freed from all their ailments and absolved of all their misdemeanours, apparently for all eternity! They’ve been actively canvassing the elderly population, especially the recently bereaved and those suffering from long-term illnesses, offering them free entry into this ‘paradise’.”

Oddlington believes that his own grandfather has fallen victim to the Institute. “He was seventy nine, a widower in poor health, highly susceptible to this kind of thing – they bombarded his street, which has a lot of retired residents, with their adverts and even started making house calls,” the councillor recalls. “Eventually he called them and these ‘salespeople’ came round to try and convince him to sign up for ‘salvation’, which he did. I tried to talk him out of it, but he was adamant that he wanted to take his place in this ‘paradise’ they were offering, as his present life was so miserable.” Oddlington’s grandfather told the councillor that the Institute had arranged for their transport to collect him from outside his house the next day and take him to their ‘Salvation Centre’, where he would begin his journey to his new life. Suspicious, Oddlington decided to hide across the street and watch what happened. “As I watched from across the street, this black van, presumably from the ‘Salvation Centre’, pulled up in front of my grandfather’s house. He’d obviously been watching for it out of the window, as he immediately came out the front door, walked down the garden path and climbed into the back,” he told us. “After the doors had closed, the van just sat there for ten minutes, or so, the driver occasionally revving the engine, before it drove off. I never saw my grandfather again.” When he next visited the house, a few weeks after his grandfather’s disappearance, he found it occupied by new tenants. “All of his belongings had vanished and they denied any knowledge of him,” Oddlington says, tears welling up at the memory. “The housing association he rented from claimed that he had voluntarily given up his tenancy shortly after he went to the ‘Salvation Centre’ – they had the paperwork to prove it!”

Whilst the Heaven on Earth Institute remains secretive as to the exact nature of its activities, its director, Dr Hans Yappler, agreed to speak exclusively to The Sleaze, explaining that its Newham operation was just a pilot project. “We’re hoping to roll out nationally soon, bringing joy to the whole nation,” the beaming medic confided. “What we’re offering people is the ultimate communal experience. Once we’ve processed them at our ‘Salvation Centres’, participants are hooked up to our ‘neural web’ – a sort of mental internet connecting human minds together via our servers – and, through the use of drugs and hypnosis, they are able to enter a kind of communal ‘afterlife’. It’s like ‘Second Life’, but far more realistic. Realistic, yet perfect: a world with no conflict, disease or ageing, just love!” Yappler concedes that the Institute’s ‘afterlife’ can’t actually confer immortality. “Obviously, the physical body will eventually die, but to the participants, the time they spend linked to the ‘neural web’ will seem, subjectively, to be infinite,” he explains. “In the long-term, we hope to be able to upload the participants’ brain patterns to the web, ensuring them a kind of immortality, even after their physical bodies perish.” The scientist claims that the Institute recruits primarily amongst the old and poor as those who have suffered deprivation are more responsive to the communal ‘paradise’. Yappler remains coy as to the Institute’s financing, but maintains that it offers its service free, asking only that participants will them their bodies for ‘scientific research’ once they are dead.

Despite Yappler’s assurances that the Institute’s activities are benign, The Sleaze has been contacted by a former employee who disagrees. Darren – not his real name – claims to have been employed by the Institute as the driver of one of its ‘deliverance vans’, the sinister black vehicles which call for new recruits, who are never seen again. “It all seemed quite innocent at first,” the clearly terrified former driver told us. “We were just given a list of addresses where we were to pick new recruits up – we just had to wait outside, until they got in the back. There was no way to see into the back of the van, so we never saw or spoke to them. Once they got in, we were told to flip the red switch below the dashboard, then sit there for ten to fifteen minutes, revving the engine, before driving back to the ‘Salvation Centre’. We had to stay in the cab whilst the passengers were unloaded from the back. Again, we never saw them.” Growing suspicious of the Institute’s strange instructions, Darren eventually decided to investigate the function of the red switch. “I parked up in an alleyway on my way to a call and started to trace the wiring – I was shocked to find that it controlled a valve on the exhaust system,” he revealed to >b>The Sleaze. “There was an extra pipe coming off of the manifold – when the switch was flipped it pumped exhaust gases into the back of the van, giving anyone in there a fatal dose of carbon monoxide.” A horrified Darren abandoned the van in the alley and fled. Now in hiding, he fears reprisals from the Institute. “They’ve got friends in high places – all the way to the top of government,” he claims. “I’ve heard of other employees who tried to blow the whistle vanishing into the backs of their own vans!”

Oddlington isn’t surprised by Darren’s revelations, having himself spoken to several ex-employees. “One told me that the bodies aren’t used for ‘scientific research’, but rather they’re burned as fuel in a power generating station owned by a subsidiary of the Institute and which has a contract to supply electricity to the Borough,” he told us. “As for the ‘Salvation Centre’ – there are no servers or other scientific equipment there – it’s just a giant freezer where they store the bodies until they are burned.” The councillor also believes that he has uncovered links between the Institute and the government. “Not only are some of its main sponsors also major donors to the ruling Conservative Party, but this Dr Yappler was, until recently, employed by the Department of Work and Pensions as a consultant,” he says. “The Institute is clearly implementing government policy – just look at the savings they’ll make on pension payments with all these old people vanishing, not to mention the low-cost housing stock it makes available! It will also solve the problem of all those retirement homes going bankrupt – with no poor old people, there will be no need for them! Then there’s the NHS resources which will be freed up if they don’t have to treat geriatrics! Clearly, in Cameron’s Britain, only those who can afford to will be able to grow old!” The government has declined to comment on these allegations.