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Wallace and Gromit fail to lift Haynes

A top-selling guide to the inventions of Wallace and Gromit failed to stop motor manual maker Haynes Publishing from posting a fall in annual sales.

The Cracking Contraptions manual, which gives the lowdown on the workings of the pair's motorcycle and sidecar and other inventions, was one of Haynes' two best-selling titles in the year to May.

The other was a manual about Star Trek's USS Enterprise. Haynes is best known for its step-by-step guides on car maintenance, but now prints books on subjects ranging from history to health.

Group sales fell by 2 per cent to £33.8m, while pre-tax profits were flat at £7.2m. Haynes' chief executive, Eric Oakley, said: "With the price of petrol, incomes are somewhat depressed. The money that used to be in people's pockets is now in their gas tanks."