“It’s what we’ve been waiting for – the British Roswell and Area 51 rolled into one,” says top UK ufologist Danny Bamsey, commenting on allegations that a crashed flying saucer is currently being hidden at a Barnet supermarket. Whilst rumours of strange happenings at the Barnet branch of Safeway had been flying around the internet for several months, the story only broke publicly when, earlier this week, the Barnet Bugle and Advertiser published a sensational interview with George Palmer, a local food technician who claimed to have spent several months working with alien groceries at the supermarket. “I saw some pretty wild things going on behind the scenes there,” said thirty-four year old Palmer. “They were working on the use of teleportation to restock shelves – every time the medium sliced bread ran out, for instance, they’d just ‘beam’ another lot onto the shelves! The implications for the long-term employment prospects of students and pensioners are terrifying!”

He also alleges that the supermarket was using alien nanotechnology to pioneer a revolutionary new approach to product replenishment. “Microscopic robots were being used to break down one type of product and reassemble it as another, completely different, item,” he told the newspaper. “The days when you’d go into the supermarket looking for a jar of Colombian coffee, only to find it out of stock, but dozens of shelves full of cheap tinned tomatoes could soon be over! At the flick of a switch an assistant could transform one of those tins of inferior fruit into your premium coffee! It’s just mind-boggling!” Amongst the other wonders apparently witnessed by Palmer were wheel-less antigravity shopping trolleys and giant sized fruit and vegetables produced using the downed saucer’s radioactive power-plant. However, perhaps most sinister of all was the project he himself claims to have worked on – the development of mass-produced genetically engineered clones to operate the supermarket’s cash registers. “Whilst of very limited intelligence, they were incredibly fast – able to scan in a whole trolley of shopping, pack it in carrier bags and process your credit card payment in thirty seconds flat! It could spell an end to supermarket queues as we know them,” claimed Palmer, who says he left Safeway in protest at this last project. “As a committed union member, I couldn’t countenance working on something which would inevitably lead to further job losses and lower wages.”

Safeway bosses have been quick to dismiss Palmer’s claims as ‘preposterous’, pointing out that he had never been employed as a food technician, but as a shelf stacker, and had been dismissed for pilfering. “Security caught him with seventeen cans of Safeway Savers pilchards and four litres of semi-skimmed milk stuffed in his pants,” says a Safeway spokesperson. “He was bloody lucky we didn’t press criminal charges.” However, many in the world of ufology suspect a cover-up. “The alien connection makes perfect sense – it’s the only way Safeway could get a competitive edge over rivals like Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda,” opines Bamsey, editor of the West London Flying Saucer Quarterly Digest. “Obviously they’d want to keep it secret from their competitors, hence the cover-up. Mind you, something must have leaked out to spark that bidding war to take Safeway over – why else would Tesco and Morrisons be offering millions for a failing chain of supermarkets?” He also points out that Palmer is not the only source of evidence attesting to the Barnet supermarket’s alien connections. “Back in March someone identifying themselves as ‘Lady Berkeley’ posted on our message boards claiming that she had received the fright of her life at the Barnet Safeway when she had reached into a freezer cabinet in search of a tangerine cheesecake, only to discover the frozen body of an alien instead,” says Bamsey, claiming that ‘Lady Berkeley’ described the alien as being small, grey and wrinkled and wearing some kind of uniform. “The store management were very keen to hush it all up and apparently gave her a free ham and six cartons of long-life milk to keep her mouth shut.”

Once again, Safeway management deny any such incident ever took place, although they do admit that one of their more elderly shelf-stackers was treated for hypothermia in March following an ‘incident’ in the frozen foods section. Bamsey has himself visited the Barnet Safeway and attempted to gain entry to the loading bays at the rear. “It was impossible – there were huge iron gates and high concrete walls topped with barbed wire all around the back of the store,” he reports. “The whole place was patrolled by sinister black-clad security guards and kept under constant surveillance by video cameras – it was way over the top for a simple supermarket!” He also noted that activity at the rear of the store seemed to go on twenty-four hours a day, with the whole depot brightly illuminated by night, and huge refrigerated lorries constantly coming and going. “There’s definitely something strange going on there,” he concludes.

Indeed, whilst some ufologists speculate that the downed saucer might be some kind of intergalactic supermarket home delivery truck which got lost and crashed during a delivery run, others fear that its landing was deliberate and its purposes hostile. “I was in the fresh fruit and vegetables section, examining a giant runner bean pod – it must have been six feet long – when I suddenly found myself getting dizzy and found I was unable to move,” John Moon, a former regular shopper at the supermarket and keen amateur ufologist, told The Sleaze. “As I looked on in amazement, the runner bean pod I was touching began to split open to reveal a perfect replica of myself – it was terrifying!” Luckily, the sight of the replicant shocked Moon out of his trance and he was able to beat it to a pulp with a giant cucumber from the next display before fleeing the shop, hotly pursued by several blank-faced, black clad security guards. “I’m never going back there again, from now on I’m shopping at the local Tesco – not only are you safe from being turned into a pod-person, but their microwave chips are cheaper too,” declares a still shaking Moon.

Several other local residents have noted chilling changes in friends and relatives who have gone to work at Safeway in recent months. “My Rick was a normal fun-loving, outgoing teenager before he got a job there three months ago,” says Janet Twigger of her nineteen year old son. “But since he’s been stacking shelves for minimum wage ten hours a day, he’s become pasty-faced, sullen and withdrawn – he just spends all his free time lying on the sofa and looking blankly at the TV. It’s as if the life’s been drawn out of him!” Nevertheless, despite petitioning from the West London Flying Saucer Quarterly Digest, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed that it currently has no plans to napalm the supermarket in the name of National Security.