Even then it seemed dubious - the stories quoted a police spokesman saying the identity of the vandals was 'unknown'.
So, two months later, it was hardly surprising when The Sun printed a retraction:
Surrey Police have not blamed gipsies for an attack on their force's helicopter, no staff in their operations rooms were threatened by gipsies and no gipsy site was being targeted for a raid as we reported on May 14. We apologise for the mistakes and are happy to set the record straight.
At the time, this blog questioned why the Mail and Telegraph hadn't published this too, as they had made the same claims.
Well, on 9 November, an apology crept out on the Mail website ('due prominence' indeed...).
Given that the wording is identical, where is the sense in the Sun apologising after two months, but the Mail taking nearly six to do the same?
Moreover, why is it that the Telegraph's article by Ben Leach is still available? Especially when the Telegraph even admit their article is all 'according to The Sun newspaper'?
So while the Sun's story has been retracted, Leach's re-write - based solely on that now withdrawn article - remains online.
This is an absurd situation which, unsurprisingly, reflects poorly on the PCC. Surely it can't be too difficult for them to do the following:
1. If, as in this case, several newspapers print the same lies, and the PCC then brokers a retraction on one of those articles, the PCC should be pro-active in ensuring the other versions are also removed and an apology published.
2. If the original story was trailed on a newspaper homepage, the apology/retraction/clarification should be trailed there as well.
Would that be so difficult?