Rent-a-lie service offers philanderers an alibi

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FOR SPOUSES trying to convince a partner that a weekend tryst in Amsterdam was really spent at a pig-rearing conference in Slough, help is at hand.

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, who founded The Alibi Agency, said he and his business partner, Ronnie Brock, got the idea after helping out philandering friends with excuses. "Ron and I had often helped out friends by providing an alibi for them if they were `playing away'. So we decided there could be a demand for such a service and so far we've been proved right."

The agency, which says that it has had 100 people sign up, can also provide faked documents and invitations that can add "evidence" to help back up the lies.

"People knock us, saying what we're doing is immoral and we have had abusive calls from some irate women. But we've also had women wanting to join up," said Mr Taylor, from Lytham St Annes. "So far 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."

The agency has drawn criticism for encouraging people to lie and cheat. The Venerable 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 Relate marriage-guidance counselling 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 extra-marital affair. It doesn't solve the problem a relationship may be suffering but serves to perpetuate it." Mr Taylor remains unapologetic. He said his website had been visited by potential cheats from other parts of Europe, Japan and the US.