Markets in everything

It’s sold as a must-have accessory to give urban SUVs a whiff of the outback. But U.K. officials say drivers who use spray-on mud to avoid identification by police speed cams face hefty fines for obscuring their license plates.

Targeting self-conscious 4×4 owners whose rugged vehicles seldom see obstacles bigger than a speed bump, the enterprising British e-tailer behind Sprayonmud sells the scent of the countryside in a squirt bottle.

For 8 pounds (about $14.50), buyers get 0.75 liters (.85 quarts) of genuine filthy water, bottled from hills near the company’s premises on the rural England-Wales border. The aim, says the website, is "to give your neighbors the impression you’ve just come back from a day’s shooting or fishing — anything but driving around town all day or visiting the retail park."

"The mud is from Shropshire," said Sprayonmud proprietor Colin Dowse, a financial consultant who has been selling the product in the United Kingdom for 12 months. "It contains mud plus some secret ingredients to improve stickability so that it dries before it runs off the paintwork."

But, while the site promises SUV owners a route around social stigma flung by a growing anti-4×4 lobby, motorists of other stripes are thought to use the same technique to freely flout speed limits.

Tipsters in motoring forums advise canny drivers they can smear mud over their license plate to avoid detection by police speed cameras, which photograph plates’ registration details to ID lawbreakers using a national vehicle database. A few squirts of dirt, and snapped speeders would become as good as invisible.

Here is the full story, and thanks to Joseph Weisenthal for the pointer.  By the way, this example is too ridiculous to deserve its own installment of "Markets in Everything."


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