The damage: Fiona McClymont finds out how much it costs to disappear

Ever entertained the thought of just quietly disappearing one day? To hell with the family, sod the job, stuff the bills, and au revoir to this life's mistakes. Sounds appealing? Well, why not just jettison- off your old existence and reinvent yourself, emerging Reggie Perrin-like into ... whatever takes your fancy. According to the people at Info-Assist - whose book Get Lost! instructs you how to do just that - the sooner you start planning, the better. They advise obtaining the necessary documents for your new life (birth certificate, passport, etc) and stashing them away in a safe place now, just waiting for the day when it all becomes too much. Here's the what it will cost you to achieve a new identity for the new millennium. (Needless to say, some of the following is not entirely legal.)

The fall ... Setting up a mail-drop where you can have all documents delivered to (advertised in papers such as Loot), pounds 10 for one month; copy of birth certificate (get dead person's details from any Records Office, ring Family Records Office in Southport and get a copy of their birth certificate), pounds 11; provisional driving licence, (using new name and mail-drop address), pounds 21; driving test (use copy of birth certificate as ID), pounds 52; full driving licence, pounds 6; passport in new name, applied for with birth certificate as ID, pounds 21

... and rise ... Changing your appearance with haircut and dye, pounds 25; a pair of glasses with clear lenses (get contacts if you already wear glasses), pounds 50; travel books on exotic locations to leave behind as red herrings, pounds 20; leaving the area, by bus or train (no customer records), pounds 30; interim accommodation in shared house (less noticeable than being alone and no landlord records) for six months, pounds 1,500; new clothes, pounds 200 for basics

...of the new you Flight to ultimate destination, preferably English-speaking, which hasn't got an extradition treaty with Britain, pounds 250; minimum funds of pounds 2,000; new fingerprints operation, skin grafted from toes (available in Brazil), pounds 12,000

Total pounds 16,196

`Get Lost!' (Info-Assist, pounds 27.50 inc p&p, PO Box 580, Harrow, Middx HA2 0BQ)