THE number of people in Britain who wish they were pretending to be dead has risen for the fifth month in a row.
Researchers say the latest increase is down to the cold weather, a further tightening of the credit squeeze and the schoolboy errors made by suspected canoeist John Darwin.
Dr Tom Logan, a leading fake death consultant, said: "People looked at Darwin and thought, 'you've got it made, why the hell are you walking into a bloody police station, you arse?'."
Dr Logan said the public had woken up to the advantages of pretending to be dead. "The first thing you notice is a steep drop off in telephone calls.
"Your line manager doesn't noise you up about why you didn't come in today and the threatening emails about the steady decline in the quality of your work tend to dry up fairly quickly.
"Better still, you don't have to have an internet phone, a Facebook page or care about who's made it to the next round of Let Me Through, I'm a Celebrity Paramedic."
He added: "My clients tell me one of the most enjoyable things about pretending to be dead is covering yourself with fake blood and then pressing your face against living room windows of people you don't like.
"Or you could wait until one of your enemies comes out of his office and stand on the other side of the road just staring and pointing at him."
But Dr Logan stressed there were a few golden rules to ensure a long and successful fake death.
"Planning is everything. Make sure you have a place to live, a source of food and no matter how tempting it may seem at the time, do not have your photograph taken for a Panamanian website."