French president Nick Sarko has once again demonstrated his touchiness about his lack of international standing by sending operatives ahead of a planned factory visit to make sure he isn't overshadowed by less vertically-challenged workers.
According to the La République des Pyrénées, Le Prez is due to pop into the Turbomeca aeronautics factory near Toulouse on 22 June, but an advance guard has already vetted staff to "whittle out" anyone who's taller than Sarkozy's modest 5ft 5ins.
One anonymous engineer explained: "I am almost six feet tall, and I was told I was not allowed near the official reception group."
Sarko's previous attempts to conceal his diminutive stature include standing on a box to deliver a speech at the D-Day beaches in 2009, and surrounding himself with dwarves at the Faurecia motor factory, Normandy, in September last year.
Just last week, police sources alleged that tall blokes had been advised not to bother applying for the presidential guard, lest they add to the humiliation already suffered by Sarko when he has to pop out in public next to 5ft 10ins missus Carla Bruni. ®