Plunging mendacity to new depths, a company is offering ready-made alibis. All the cheating partner has to do is pick up the phone and dial an excuse.
Joe Taylor, from Lytham St Annes, who founded The Alibi Agency, said he and his business partner, Ronnie Brock, got the idea after helping out philandering friends. "Ron and I had often helped out friends by providing an alibi for them if they were `playing away'. We decided there could be a demand for such a service and so far we've been proved right."
The agency, which says that 100 people have signed up, can also provide faked documents and invitations that can add "evidence" to back up the lies.
The Ven John Barton, Archdeacon of Aston, Birmingham, said: "If any of these fake documents are produced by a party during divorce proceedings then I would have thought the company could be prosecuted for perjury and I hope they get the high jump.
"They seem to be actively promoting infidelity and dishonesty by providing such a distasteful service."
Julia Cole, of the Relatecounselling service, said: "It's a disastrous and immoral idea. It is setting people up to deceive in a relationship rather than addressing their problems that might have led to an extramarital affair. It doesn't solve the problem but serves to perpetuate it."
Mr Taylor said: "People say what we're doing is immoral, and we have had abusive calls from irate women. But we've also had women wanting to join up.
"We have not been sussed out by a client's partner yet, but we do not guarantee they will not be caught out using our service."
Mr Taylor says his website has been visited by potential cheats from the Continent, Japan and the United States.