THE UK intelligence agency has been using an online code-cracking competition to attract recruits.

Web surfers who chance upon the code game and succeed in the task are given a keyword which leads to a site offering employment opportunities with GCHQ.

It is nice to know there is work for young people, even if it is in the spying trade. Some gamers may already have come across the code-breaking competition. Or even the digital posters which Britain's secret service recruiters put on Splinter Cell Double Agent.

If not, just write directly to MI5. Here is a suggested form of words: "Dear MI5, I am very interested in working in the surveillance industry. As a hobby, I have been keeping a watchful eye on family, friends, and neighbours. I have had success in reporting benefit cheats to the Department of Work and Pensions. My information has helped police achieve a number of prosecutions, including my teacher whose emails I hacked. I had hoped to work as a tabloid journalist but openings are scarce. I will not forward my CV since you already know all about me."

Britain's spymasters also placed content on video games such as Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty which indicates they are seeking agents open to work of a violent nature.

Applications should be made to MI6, the department which offers both foreign travel and the opportunity to kill for your country.

A suitable approach might be: "Dear MI6, Living in a Glasgow scheme, I have developed useful knife and other hand-to-hand combat skills, often operating behind enemy lines in Possil. I am keen to extend my repertoire to using the Walther PK, poisoned umbrella, and pens fitted with explosive devices. Will I get an Aston Martin DB5 as a company car? A Gyrojet with rocket guns would come in handy for when I am home on leave and have to make a quick getaway from a rammy in Sauchiehall Street. Please find attached details of a dead letter box for your reply."

The secret services used to hire staff from Oxford and Cambridge. They are now committed to diversity and equal opportunity. .

Candidates who can spot weapons of mass destruction will be fast-tracked.