At a hastily assembled Press Conference held at their Fifehead Neville Temporary Crime Scene Portacabin this morning, Dorset Police announced what could be a significant breakthrough in their fight to apprehend the "cruel, callous and mindless vandals" who have thrice struck the neighbouring village of Fifehead Magdalen. Two thefts followed by a wholesale removal of the village's festively-adorned Christmas tree have, hitherto, left police baffled and villagers distraught.
Christmas in the village is said to be "on hold" whilst plans for The William Tell Festival in April and The Hang the Vicar Pageant in June are in serious jeopardy. Another casualty of the outrage may be next Autumn's Hunt the Naughty Woggle unless says Parish Councillor and Honorary Treasurer Mrs Winifrid Tighte-Wadd, a rapidly growing replacement can be found. "Unless a rapidly growing replacement can be found, next Autumn's Hunt the Naughty Woggle may also be in jeopardy", she told reporters outside her home. Cub Scoutmaster Sacheverell Touchit confirmed the likely disappointment: "It's such a pity" he said, "It's a marvellous event which brings scoutmasters and scouts together in a spirit of free personal exploration. You'd be amazed what we get up to on the day but I can't say more because its all part of our special secrets code: as we say in the Scouts what happens during Hunt the Naughty Woggle Day stays in Hunt the Naughty Woggle Day... DYB DYB DYB DOB DOB DOB" "We do have a special badge for it", he added coquettishly, "quite a nice one actually".
Current Fifehead Magdalen 12 Group Cub Scoutmaster Sacheverell Touchit as a young boy in 1950 [LEFT] with Professor Brian Thrupiece [CENTRE] . The Professor was at an advanced stage of his Soviet-backed methane rocket fuel development programme at the time and often recruited friends to test the explosive mixture. Future RSCBE Deputy Chair Sir Cyril Dykes-Petersen looks on with bandages at the ready.
Meanwhile, Dorset Chief Constable Sir Rising Crimewave, looking tired and drawn after his whistle-stop arboricultural tour was upbeat. Announcing a major breakthrough he announced: "I would like to announce a major breakthrough". He then went on to reveal to those present Identikit pictures of two of the suspects who, "a reliable witness"* had seen "hanging around the tree in a suspicious manner some time before the crime was committed". "They appeared to take an unnatural interest in it [the tree] and the man even took a photograph using an East German Weltaflex T12 with a Meyer-Optik 35mm lens and patent Double Exposure Prevention lock".
"This is a major step forward in this otherwise baffling crime", Sir Rising said, "though we must accept that the trail may have gone a little cold". Asked to define the term "some time before the crime", he said he could not be precise but believed the siting to be "as recently as 1984".
* Believed to be local grocer and Village Stores owner Morthen Overpriced who, for the benefit of the assembled reporters had set up a temporary stall next to the Portacabin where Duchy originals were available at a slightly increased price to reflect the transport costs involved.
PUBLIC ALERT: In an effort to solve an otherwise baffling crime, Dorset Police have released a Photofit of two persons "of interest" seen loitering around the Fifehead Magdalen tree in about 1984.
Can you help identify the criminals: VIEW PHOTOFIT HERE.