Residents of Lynmington woke up this morning to an uninterupted sunrise over the English Channel indicating quite simply that the Isle of Wight had gone.
Only the Grade I listed needles lighthouse remained together with a note stating the British Navy had renaiged on a deal to lend the territory to Spain as part of peace negotiations following the battle of Trafalgar.
The breakthough in the mystery only came late in the day amid farcical scenes of car ferries circling round and round and police frogmen searching the sea bed for clues.
Residents noticed something was 'a-rye' last night when coastal lights faded into the distance, cars started rolling about and some residents complained of sea-sickness. Locals also reported their mobile phones switching to France Télécom and later Orange España networks.
A Moroccan spotter plane has confirmed the island is currently being towed through the straights of Gibratar and taking on a lot of water and immigrants. There is also said to be a trail of wrecked yachts ripped from their moorings in heavy seas.
Military sources say the likely destination will be near the Balieric island of Ibiza to provide a chill out area for dazed clubbers.
The Spanish government has stated it is not a declaration of war and has promised to return the island at the end of the season.
The picture for residents meanwhile is more mixed. Whislt the weather is likely to be excellent they will have to contend with immigrants dossing in their frazzled garden - not to mention spanish food and lunatic brits 'on the piss'.