Congratulations are in order for Tasmania’s leading `reasonably factual’ newspaper.

Not content with winning the The Barra Award from Media Watch for its infamous pulp mill feature it can now add a front page scoop that wasn’t.

Wednesday’s paper featured a story about a group proposing to construct a giant statue of Ricky Ponting at the top of the Mowbray Hill.

Only problem was that the whole thing was an elaborate hoax.

It all started after a group of readers grew tired of what they felt was an increasing number of Ponting-related stories in The Examiner.

The most recent being Launceston Mayor Ivan Dean suggesting the Australian captain should be knighted.

From this the Ricky Ponting Mowbray Memorial Statue Committee was born.

Following this a letter was sent to the The Examiner,  signed by committee secretary Mr Len Scapp.

The fact it was a memorial statue committee should have set some alarm bells ringing as last time I checked Ponting was only being rested, not deceased.

If that doesn’t say hoax then what does?

A simple check of the White Pages for Tasmania and the Bass electoral roll shows that Mr Scapp doesn’t reside in Bass, and either has a silent phone number or simply doesn’t exist.

With this being the case how did the paper verify the facts?

The simple answer is it didn’t.

Mr Scapp’s letter was published in full on page three which was also filled with the Ponting story complete with community vox-pop.

An excerpt of the letter read as follows: “Cricket tourism is a growth industry and our research shows we could attract over 200,000 visitors a year from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka alone, where Ricky is a god in these cricket-mad countries.’’

If that doesn’t say hoax then what does?

Some simple research shows that Tasmania averages around 1 million tourists per year.

So that would mean the statue would create a 20 per cent increase in tourists and that number fails to include countries where Ricky isn’t a god.

Perhaps, rather than a Ricky statue the Ricky Ponting Mowbray Memorial Statue Committee could promote a new award for gullibility.

It’d look great on The Ex’s honour board next to the Barra!