Cock tower. Big Ben pictured in the olden days when it used to work

A 47-year-old London man who used to pleasure himself in his Westminster council flat as the chimes of Big Ben rang out, has been admitted to hospital suffering from testicular swelling and a prostate disorder.

Toby Dell, a Thames Water sluice gate warden, has been unable to masturbate to completion since the great bell was silenced on August 21 last year so that extensive renovations to The Queen Elizabeth Tower could take place.

His wife, Tracy, 39, told newsmen: “Toby became more and more tense after Big Ben fell silent. It really took it’s toll on him, so to speak.

“I knew it was down to the frustration of not being able to clear his tubes as the bell chimed the hours.

“He used to live for the midday and midnight chimes and would stay up late or come home from work in his lunch hour and lock himself in the bathroom for a hand shandy as the chimes rang out.

“I tried playing a recording of the chiming, and even went as far as dressing up in a saucy bell-ringer’s outfit and made the bonging noises myself, but he said it wasn’t the same and would just slump in his armchair or go to bed early.

“I was gutted for him to be honest and wasn’t in the least bit surprised when his balls became swollen and he had trouble passing water.”

A spokesman for the contractors working on the tower said last night: “I’m sorry to hear about Mr Dell’s problem, but we should be finished in 2021 with a bit of luck so it won’t be long before this gentleman will once again be able to blow his custard on the hour, every hour to his heart’s content”

More as we get it.