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The National Trust has let Dennis the Menace loose on its properties in order to raise their profile during the school holidays.

A one-off special issue of the Beano this week sees the naughty schoolboy and his dog Gnasher head to Powys Castle in Wales, where they duly wreak havoc with a giant catapult.

However, it is not just the devilish duo who leave Beanotown for the 'Gnashional Trust' special, as the other characters also make various trips to different visitor attractions around the country.

The Bash Street Kids get their long-suffering teacher Sir in bother at Arlington Court in Devon and Billy Whizz speeds around several National Trust properties when his family can't decide which one to go to first.

Although the Beano has been published for 73 years, this marks the first time the characters have been drawn into real-life locations.

Tony Berry from the National Trust said he hopes the comic will help kids and their parents to realise the National Trust attractions in Britain are not at all stuffy, making them perfect for a day out in the summer holidays.

"We are certain that real-life Dennises will find that it is not all 'please don’t touch' any more - in some places you can even have a go on the snooker table," he added.

The Beano celebrated its 3,500th issue back in September 2009 and was first published in 1938.

However, Dennis the Menace didn't appear until March 1951. He was so popular that he replaced former cover star Biffo the Bear from September 1974 onwards and has remained on the first page ever since.

In a strange coincidence, an American comic strip with the same name was launched in the same year, but this is often simply called 'Dennis' for UK audiences.

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