WHAT two violent thugs thought was a joke on the West Briton backfired spectacularly when the story was published around the world.
In February, the paper reported on the front page of the Falmouth edition how magistrates had agreed to alter the curfew previously given to Nathanial McIntosh for a violent offence so he could go on holiday to Thaliand for a month.
Readers reacted angrily, believing the 23-year-old amateur footballer from Falmouth, who also had a previous similar conviction and one for drink driving, should not have been allowed to change his punishment.
He then fanned the flames by posting a photo of himself shirtless on a Thai beach on the Twitter social networking site, challenging the West Briton to put it on the front page, adding an expletive.
His friend, Adam Petrauske, pretended to tip off the paper about the picture and even added a comment about being "disgusted" by McIntosh's behaviour. Petrauske, formerly of Falmouth but since moved to Penryn, was given a suspended prison sentence at Truro Crown Court in 2009 for violent disorder in relation to a brawl in Penryn, and a community sentence for using threatening behaviour in 2011.
The West Briton last week published the tweeted photo on its front page - under a headline about the "Unrepentant thug's Thailand taunt", and while the pair joked on Twitter about the paper "taking the bait", the story spread to websites as far as Iran and Nigeria.
It then appeared prominently in several national newspapers, along with other holiday snaps plundered from McIntosh's Twitter account - which he subsequently had to close. The roofer and father-of-one was branded a "thug" and a "yob" who "taunted" critics of his behaviour, with hundreds of similar comments being posted on newspaper and news websites.
His curfew was due to resume today (Wednesday).