back to article Are West Bromwich Borg pliers actually side cutters?

The revelation last Friday that West Bromwich was under threat of subjugation by a transdimensional DIY superpower prompted a few commentards to question our use of the word "pliers" to describe the threat: Giant pliers in the sky on Street View Indeed, some of our beloved readers suggested what we're dealing with here are …


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  1. Lionel Baden

    dont want to rock the boat but ....

    i think they are needle nose pliers !!!!

    1. jake Silver badge


      Needle nose pliers come to a ... er ... point at the business end. Unlike this whole series of google spawned nonsense.

      Still, Friday stuff on a Monday makes me smile. Thanks, ElReg :-)

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge


      I'd consider that the points would need to be at least about 10cm long, tapering to 2-3mm at the tip, to call them needle nose.

      It's a bit difficult to judge the size of these, but from the relationship to the houses, these are long enough - at least 10m, but far too wide at the tip, over 2m. I think I'd have to call them humongous pliers.

  2. Paul_Murphy

    It's obvious..

    They are definitely pliers, since the side of the tool has the profile of pliers, rather than side-cutters which are far more smooth-sided.

    And of course who could possibly believe than an advanced civilisation could be built on side-cutters, which are entirely biased towards cutting - wheras the plier is a far more functional tool, that can tighten and un-tighten, cut and pinch.

    So there you go - it's a pliers-based galatic civilisation we are dealing with here, now please excuse me I'm off to the bunkers.


  3. Richard Penna

    You can't be serious...

    ... the first story was amusing, but this debate is now firmly in garden-shed-nerd territory.

    Now please Google, don't leave any more <insert tool name>s on top of the camera box.

    1. Orclev
      Black Helicopters

      Title goes here

      I followed the point at which the pliers "appear" on the camera to the point they seem to fall off as the google-mobile takes a turn. If you look at the frame just before the pliers show up, you can see a pair of youths standing on top of a green box of some kind and looking at the google-mobile. There's been some speculation that the drivers got out to tweak something and left the pliers, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was the afore mentioned youths playing a prank that caused them to appear there.

  4. Jason Bloomberg

    <sfx>Twilight Zone</sfx>

    I thought putting the image through a graphics editor and doing a gamma correct and whatnot might reveal the truth. But all it revealed is, whatever they are, they are "(C) 2009 Google".

    Welcome to our giant DIY overlords.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      "(c) 2009 Google"

      Let me guess, just beneath that it said "Pliers v0.1 (beta)"?

  5. johnnytruant

    I for one

    welcome our new giant airborne cable-severing overlords.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Are West Bromwich Borg pliers actually side cutters?


    The view as the pliers are coming in to land further down Whitehall Road.

    1. hplasm

      An easy mistake to make-

      That's Chaka Demus...

    2. Robert E A Harvey
      Thumb Down

      Nothing to see

      All black now.

  7. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Ah, cutting edge journalism

    .. as it were..

  8. casual-moron


    it seams curious that google have bothered slapping copyright notices on the pliers / whatever they are

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's obviously a ham sandwich.

    Only instead of bread and ham they used pliers. This would be obvious to anyone as intelligent and learned as I, unfortunately no such person exists. (A fact that I am keen to make you all aware of)

    Now if you'll excuse me, it's lunchtime and I'm going to eat Rubik's cubes and crap them out fully solved because even my bowels are smarter than you.

  10. Paul_Murphy

    More info found!

    This shows some more details of the mysterious pliers-like object:,-2.086625&cbp=12,106.02,,0,-46.04&ved=0CBUQ2wU&ei=w2GaS8j9Ode2sgbzop2-Aw&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Cradley+Heath,+West+Midlands+B645BB,+United+Kingdom&t=h&panoid=hyEWyeTOWGhrtLF4NBQ6xQ&ll=52.47273,-2.086458&spn=0,359.985301&z=16

    and if you follow to the end of the road the object is still following the poor targetted google-car!

    They suddenly change direction:,-2.086625&cbp=12,106.02,,0,-46.04&ved=0CBUQ2wU&ei=w2GaS8j9Ode2sgbzop2-Aw&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Cradley+Heath,+West+Midlands+B645BB,+United+Kingdom&t=h&panoid=hyEWyeTOWGhrtLF4NBQ6xQ&ll=52.47273,-2.086458&spn=0,359.985301&z=16

    and then are gone!,-2.086625&cbp=12,106.02,,0,-46.04&ved=0CBUQ2wU&ei=w2GaS8j9Ode2sgbzop2-Aw&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Cradley+Heath,+West+Midlands+B645BB,+United+Kingdom&t=h&panoid=hyEWyeTOWGhrtLF4NBQ6xQ&ll=52.47273,-2.086458&spn=0,359.985301&z=16

    I'm guessing the smudge in the sky is where the object was making it's hasty getaway after being spotted.

    Fascinating stuff!

    Definitely pliers though!


  11. Winkypop Silver badge

    Cut it out El Reg

    Stop plying this rubbish!

  12. Robert von Knobloch

    Side cutting pliers

    Is what they were called when I were a lad - so you are all right (alright?)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And in the states also called "diagonal cutters", but not "needle nose".

  14. TeeCee Gold badge

    Our plan is working!

    Foolish humans. By the time you have concluded your pitiful pliers / sidecutters debate our giant non-specific handtool disguised ships will have neutralised your defences!

  15. Tom Mason

    The answer

    If you continue to follow the U.F.T(ool) down Whitehall road you will clearly see that these are clearly linemans pliers, which suggest we're being invaded by a hyper intelligent race of electrician aliens.,-2.086625&cbp=12,106.02,,0,-46.04&ved=0CBUQ2wU&ei=w2GaS8j9Ode2sgbzop2-Aw&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Cradley+Heath,+West+Midlands+B645BB,+United+Kingdom&t=h&panoid=hyEWyeTOWGhrtLF4NBQ6xQ&ll=52.47273,-2.086458&spn=0,359.985301&z=16

  16. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Definitely not side cutters!

    Or what sense does it make to have some oversized flying side cutters???

  17. Charlie van Becelaere

    I for one

    welcome our Borg stripper overlords - I've seen 7 of 9 and the future looks good to me.

  18. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    Found their secred Earth base,-2.08665&cbp=13,177.82,,0,-22.5&ved=0CBUQ2wU&ei=w2GaS8j9Ode2sgbzop2-Aw&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Cradley+Heath,+West+Midlands+B645BB,+United+Kingdom&t=h&panoid=0y2VSVcP3BWcWicQ-ITrPw&ll=52.470818,-2.08665&spn=0,359.999431&z=21


  19. Conrad Longmore

    Oh for goodness sake...

    Oh for goodness sake... don't you know how to post a Streetview link people? The clue is the link that says "Link".. rather than posting the ORIGINAL one over and over again.

  20. Christopher W
    Paris Hilton

    @ Tom Mason

    Surely that'd actually be an Unidentified Plying Object?

    Curiously, if you follow Street View through parts of Handsworth, bricks seem to be mysteriously following the car in places in gentle arcs... Might we unwittingly be the stage for an epic Space Battle featuring two long-forgotten races, the fearless Pliers race of Sparky'sbox IV and the lesser-spotted Bricks of Bryanthomes, third orbiting moon of Autoclavia XI?

    Maybe they're just doing the initial groundwork for the interstellar space superhighway and nobody bothered to check the Alpha Centauri planning office...

    Paris, because even she can tell pliers from side-cutters (she's dab handy with big tools)

    1. Ash!

      Pliers (electricians') vs. Bricks

      Oh no, it's the Vl'hurgs vs. the G'Gugvuntts all over again...

      (Except this time, their terrible miscalculation of scale has resulted in them being run over by the GoogleMobile)

  21. Dave 32


    Actually, they appear to be diagonal side cutting pliers, also known to those in the industry as "dikes". So, I suppose it could be said that England is being attacked by dikes! ;-)


    1. jake Silver badge


      In the ElRegRustyToolCollection[tm] photo, the tool on the right is known as Dykes. That is NOT the tool shown by google.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Whatever yow say it's still

    an omma

  23. Peter 4

    The sad state of el reg's tools

    Thank you for showing the sad state of el reg's tools. A good squirt of oil (3 in one etc), and a moment or two of fully opening and closing, followed by a wipe down with a rag or a paper wipe will stand them in good stead and keep them working for many more years.

    A stitch in time and all that...


  24. Al Pha
    Paris Hilton

    For goodness sakes El Reg....

    Your Tools look filthy.

    Gotts keep your tools clean lads.. you might need 'em.

    Paris, 'cos she knows how to clean a tool properly.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Definitely pliers, take a look at the serrated grippy bit to the left of the joint.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's one of them.

  27. JonBoyRamsbo
    Thumb Up

    These are combination pliers ... just like ...

    THESE! ... ... maybe these are the actual ones ... who know?!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The base

    Theres a Borg base cunningly disguised as a B@Q's just down the road in Smethwick.

  29. Richard Scratcher

    They're pliers Jim, but not as we know 'em

    These are obviously Arcturan Mega-Pliers. You can tell by the way they hang in the air - exactly like bricks don't.

  30. Charlie Oscar

    Looks like,-2.086625&cbp=12,106.02,,0,-46.04&ved=0CBUQ2wU&ei=w2GaS8j9Ode2sgbzop2-Aw&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Cradley+Heath,+West+Midlands+B645BB,+United+Kingdom&t=h&panoid=hyEWyeTOWGhrtLF4NBQ6xQ&ll=52.47273,-2.086458&spn=0,359.985301&z=16&oi=nojs

    look like needle nose to me

  31. Mark 7

    I for one welcome our new ...

    ... Borg Stripper overlords

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Borg strippers.... 7 0f 9 mmmmmmmm

  32. Dean 4

    Check the facts :P

    1) Pliers, not Side Cutters.

    2) Cradley Heath, not West Bromwich

  33. jake Silver badge

    Definately Linesman's pliers.

    At least that's what we call 'em around these parts.

    A set is part of the "emergency" tool kit in all the vehicles, there is a pair under all the tractor seats, in most of my "targeted for the job" tool boxes and tool belts (finish carpentry excluded, although come to think of it there is a pair in one of the drawers in the router table), there are pairs over most of the work benches in various outbuildings, etc. It's a go-to tool for a lot of "dumb, heavy work"[1] ... Handy to have around, regardless of the name you give 'em.

    [1] Which may be heavy on occasion, but is seldom doable by brain dead office folks ...

  34. David Sidebotham
    Jobs Horns

    Needle nose nerd?

    Pliers usually have a bypass slot on each side that can be used as wire cutters (if you are feeing brave). The West Brom Borg does not. Ergo they are side cutters.

    Incidentally, and we can start a new game here if you like, (or bragging rights if you wish), but I find that my house is in shot in no less than 26 camera locations on Street View. So stop watching me. Now!

  35. Kelvin Strachan

    Pliers not side cutters

    Speaking from an electrician's perspective (as opposed to an alien, or an IT boff, etc.).

    Those are electricians pliers, not side cutters, or even fencing pliers as depicted in the pics.

  36. breakfast
    Thumb Up

    Judging scale

    It's very hard to judge the exact size and shape. Perhaps a realistic scale reconstruction of the scene using Playmobil to illustrate the relative size of humans to the epic megapliers and also featuring Optimus Prime would be in order.

  37. Alain Moran

    Needle nose

    If you visit the site and move about to take a look at them, they are very definitley needle-nose pliers.

  38. Peter Hewitt

    Phone box

    Looking at Hayden Clark's link that hardware shop does seem to be their base as they vanish once you move one square back.

    Having said that, why in the yard behind the hardware shop is there a phone box on the roof of a garage? More alien meddling?

  39. Willum08


    The object in question started out as a mobile phone, thrown from Gordo's Den at Number 10 and morphed into a pair of pliers on the way.............

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