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April 5, 1972: Scouts hit by hoax

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June 23, 2017

Shepparton scouts have 5000 empty cigarette packets on their hands - the result of a cruel hoax.

Three weeks ago Scout master Mr Albie was "told" that if anyone collected 8000 cigarette boxes a tobacco company would sponsor the training of a Seeing Eye Dog.

Shepparton scouts and cubs set about collecting as many as possible in the shortest time.

The packets they collected represented plain, cork tipped, filter, menthol, king size and mini size,

And there were brands that Mr Watt had never heard of.

The boys collected nearly 5000 packets, then discovered the whole thing was a hoax - nobody wanted the empty packets.

Now Mr Watt wants someone to take the empty packets, piled high at the Scout Hall, off his hands.

He feels strongly about the boys' wasted effort.

"The scouts and cubs put in a big effort. They had their parents and neighbours all collecting and for what?" he asked today.

Mr Watt said scouts and cubs were taught not to be selfish and to help people.

In this case they had given a 100 per cent effort but would now be rather sceptical of putting in a similar effort in the future.

Group scout master Mr Howard Terrill said the organisers should perhaps have checked the offer thoroughly before starting collections.

"The lads collected in good faith thinking they were helping someone in need. All we can do is be more careful in future in the causes we support".

Pictured at the Scout Hall with some of the "empties" collected over the past three weeks, and still wondering what to do with them, are six year olds Andrew Barkla and Mark Porter.

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