These are not the dryers in question / Flickr (CarbonNYC)

Mysterious prankster taunts Ivy League campus with pictures of dirtied laundry

It is one of the elite universities, not only in America, but throughout the world; a flag-bearer for the Ivy League; the alma mater of Bob Woodward, Oliver Stone, Meryl Streep, Bill Clinton and (perhaps more tellingly) George W Bush. But Yale has a rather nasty problem that won't go away - and the venerable institution has been forced to launche a search for the "poopetrator".

A laundry line of soiled clothes appeared on campus overnight on 4 October - yet again, someone has apparently smeared faeces in the clothes dryers.

At 3.35am students received an anonymous email from the culprit, calling himself the "Copro Philiac."

He wrote: "The last time, I promise :)...forever yours, YP," attaching grainy photographs of the stained clothing on a campus washing line. Later that morning he sent a follow-up email with more photographs and the comment: "It's still a good morning!"

"It's ruining people's lives," sophomore Camille Fonseca told campus newspaper the Yale Daily News, while Yale junior Staci Cummins said: "I want to know how they're doing this and how no one has caught them".

Fonseca added that students wanted "round-the-clock security" and were standing guard themselves over campus laundry rooms in an effort to flush out the culprit.

The identity of the "poopetrator" is the talk of residential Saybrook College, the site of most of the attacks.

But new reports suggest students are merely the butt of a cruel joke, after a spokesman for the university confirmed to the Yale Daily News that "the Friday incident involved chocolate instead of feces".

It is not the first time that Yale has fallen foul of the prank, which in the past has involved genuine filth.  

"This seems to be a series of incidents in which only the latest was a chocolate prank," one Yale undergraduate told The Independent. "The previous cases have been real shit and real piss dumped into the dryers and left there. One of the earliest victims forced a response from her college administration by scooping up the feces and bringing them to the offices herself."

"The whole thing has been going on for about a month now and I don't think the authorities are any closer to catching who did it," he added.

On 2 October, police were called to Saybrook after student Lucy Fleming opened the dryer to find her clothes covered in feces and urine.

"We have asked our students not to leave their laundry unattended, the affected machines have been thoroughly disinfected, and we are actively seeking information about who the perpetrator might be,” Yale Master Paul Hudak said at the the time.

“That’s about all we can do.”