After the UK was struck by two earthquakes in quick succession – first in Winchester, then in Rutland – a leading scientist has claimed that, far from being natural phenomena, these earth tremors were, in fact, the first stage of an assault by hostile forces upon the country. “It’s quite obvious that this is the work of the Mole People,” declared rogue geologist Harry Crackass last week, to a startled meeting of the British Geological Society. “Don’t believe all this nonsense claiming that these earthquakes could be result of fracking or, even more ludicrous, simply natural phenomena! I ask you, when was the last time we had earth tremors of this magnitude in Britain? Then we have two in as many days! It’s clear that these are the first warning shots in the war that the subterranean inhabitants of the earth have declared on mankind!” For the past few years Crackass has courted ridicule from the geological community with his claims that a hidden world of strange creatures and ancient civilisations exist beneath the earth’s surface, but now he believes that he has been vindicated. “Perhaps now, after these attacks, people will start taking this threat seriously,” he told the meeting. “These creatures could, quite literally, undermine our whole civilisation! This time they just scared a few people and broke some crockery with their tremors – next time we could national monuments like Nelson’s Column toppled or, worse still, whole towns swallowed by the earth with no warning!”

The geologist believes that the subterraneans are responding to centuries of incursions into their realm by surface dwellers. “First of all we started mining their domain for precious metals and stones, then we started extracting coal an industrial scale,” he explained to his aghast audience. “As if that wasn’t bad enough, we then turned our attention to drilling for oil and gas – we’re stripping them of their resources. It was only a matter of time before they retaliated.” According to Crackass, fracking has proven the final straw for the underground dwellers. “To them, the pumping of millions of gallons of pressurised water into bore holes to fracture the very rocks which form a barrier between our worlds could only appear like an act of hostility,” he claimed. “AS far as they are concerned, it’s us who have declared war on them by attempting to destroy their natural defences!” Crackass suspects that the two recent earthquakes were designed to confuse us surface dwellers as exactly where the Mole People intend to strike first. “That said – it’s pretty obvious that the main target was prosperous, middle class, Winchester, full of historic buildings and monuments,” he opined. “The other one was clearly a feint, designed to deceive – I mean, even people who spend theirs lives living in darkness underground know that Rutland is shit hole nobody cares about!”

Whilst the geological community are still rejecting Crackass’ claims, labelling them ‘ludicrous’ and ‘scientifically implausible’, reactions in the wider community have been less hostile. The day after his speech, for instance, the Daily Mail devoted its front page to speculating what effect the ‘Mole People’ threat might have on house prices in the South of England. “Their activities could prove disastrous for the housing market in Winchester – natural subsidence can knock thousands from the value of even the best properties, let alone deliberate undermining,” one property expert was quoted as saying in the story. “To be frank, the only worse thing for property prices I can think of would be having black people move in next door, or social housing for poor people built nearby.” However a local estate agent interviewed by the newspaper disagrees, believing that the ‘Mole People’ threat could have the opposite effect on Winchester’s house prices. “There’s nothing like scarcity to drive up property values,” he told the paper. “Believe me, if properties here start collapsing as the result of earthquakes, or vanishing into sink holes, prices will inevitably rise – this is already a highly desirable place for the well heeled to live, if there are fewer available properties then it will become even more exclusive and expensive!”

The estate agent was also hopeful that the ‘Mole People’ might swallow up some of the City’s less well appointed council estates with their activities, thereby further increasing private house prices. This view was shared by local English Defence League member Ron Thwack, although he was less interested in the effect on house prices than the ethnic make up of the area. “Those bloody estates have been overrun by filthy immigrants,” he insisted in an article in the Daily Express. “These ‘Mole people’ are pure white people – they have to be, otherwise they’d never be able see each other down there in the dark bowels of the earth! We shouldn’t fear them, they’re clearly here as saviours of the white race!” UKIP councillor Barry Clack isn’t convinced by Thwack’s claims, suspecting darker motives on the part of the invading ‘Mole People’. “They’re clearly trying to enter the country illegally,” he told the Express. “Obviously, you can’t blame them, this underground world of theirs sounds horrendous, so it is only natural that they’d want to come to our green and pleasant surface world. But mark my words, now it might be a few earthquakes, but unless we do something about them now, they’ll all be up here claiming benefits and council houses at the tax payers’ expense!”

Clack has even suggested that the so called ‘Mole People’ aren’t really from the bowels of the earth, but are actually illegal immigrants burrowing their way into the UK from refugee camps in France, a view roundly rejected by Crackass, who claims to have actually spent time with the subterraneans. “It was when I got lost exploring an extensive cave complex in Austria that I stumbled upon one of their underground cities,” he told the Daily Sport. “Believe me, they aren’t illegal immigrants, although they do come in all shapes and sizes: the dominant albinos are descended from ancient Sumerians and they control the actual ‘Mole people’, who do the burrowing for them. Then there are the small bald ones, like the ones in Superman and the Mole Men – they have drilling machines and stuff.” After being held captive by the underground people and interrogated by them about the surface world for several days, Crackass claims to have escaped back into the cavern complex, where he was discovered by a search party, rambling and delirious. Militant environmentalist Milton Ramp has accused the geologist not only of having fabricated this story, but also of being part of an oil industry conspiracy to deflect public attention away from the dangers of fracking. “It’s clearly a plot to blame all of the dangerous side effects of fracking – earth tremors and the like – on these fictitious ‘Mole People’,” he told The Guardian. “Whilst at the same time presenting fracking as some kind of defence against them as it destroys their environment.”