Rent A Friend website offers UK pals

Let's get this straight from the start, Rent A Friend is not an escort site. It does not proffer or offer "ladies of the night" or any form of salubrious services. Instead, it simply exists to rent out strangers who will be happy to be your friend. For a set amount of time. For money.

It's actually been a success in the US and Canada, and similar type of organisations have proved very popular in Japan, so the service has decided to make an assault on the UK market, and is already up and running with a healthy selection of friends to choose from.

You rent them by the hour for a social event, or simply to teach you a new skill. Indeed, there are a whole variety of things your (paid-for) friend can help with: "You can rent a local Friend to hang out with", states the website. "[Someone to] go to a movie or restaurant with, someone to go with you to a party or event, someone to teach you a new skill or hobby, or someone to show you around an unfamiliar town". For money.

Speaking of which, membership to Rent A Friend costs £17.20 for 30 days, or £48.23 for a whole year. Friend rates are varied but, on average, are around £6.50 per hour.

Alternatively, you can offer yourself up to be a "friend" and sign up for free. You might even make a little money on the side. Just leave the ice pick and chloroform at home.

Would you hire a buddy for the night, for chit chat and to talk about the football or weather or something? And, if so, how much would you pay? Let us know in the comments below...