Brazen thieves have stolen an England sign from its border with Scotland.
The sign, at the border at Norham in Northumberland, vanished mysteriously on Friday afternoon.
The theft has been reported to Northumbria Police which is investigating.
A local councillor has voiced his anger at the culprits, but joked that “at least someone wants England” with just a month to go before Scots vote on independence.
The plinth mounted sign, emblazoned with the flag of St George, was beside the road bridge over the River Tweed and is the responsibility of Northumberland County Council.
It was thought to be the third such sign at the location with the previous two having also been snared, the last around eight years ago.
County councillor for Norham Dougie Watkin passed where the sign should have been at 7pm on Friday and noticed it was missing.
He spoke to two nearby residents who told him it had been there two hours before. Coun Watkin contacted Northumbria Police.
He said: “The theft of England is officially a crime!
“I hope it is just a student-y prank, it is understandable but annoying.
“If it is up on somebody’s bedroom wall it is going to be very hard to explain why you have an England sign there!
“It just annoyed us, I hope they get a puncture in their car wheels off the nails. “I would like to think that if somebody thought better of it, they would just leave it somewhere so we can get it back. It will be very difficult to sell.”
He believes the sign will be worth at least £100, although the council is insured. The councillor has already ordered a replacement from the authority’s highways department.
With Scotland set to vote on whether to sever links with England next month, he joked: “I actually feel quite sorry for our neighbours in Scotland because no-one ever steals the Scottish one, it is only ever the English one!
“Somebody must want us, we must still be popular in some circles!”
The Northumberland sign remains in place with the councillor joking: “That is too big to get in the car!”
A police spokeswoman confirmed the force had received a report of the theft of the stone plinth mounted England sign from Norham bridge on West Street at 8.14pm on Friday.
She said: “Officers are aware and enquiries are ongoing.”
The theft comes on the back of a campaign which saw stickers with the flag of St George above the phrase Home Rule, left on signs along the border, last August.
At the time, Coun Watkin claimed the stickers were badly timed a month ahead of 500th anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Flodden.
The English Democrats later told The Journal they did not know whether their supporters were responsible.