For many years, Ryde man, 'Captain' Gilbert Grapefruit has been regarded as an amiable local eccentric, what with his perambulations along Ryde Esplanade wearing a sailor hat, blowing a whistle, and hoisting flags whenever the situation availed itself.
But yesterday, a more sinister side to 'The Captain' emerged as PC Poppadom of Ryde Police popped in to conduct a general wellness check on the amiable fruit cake lover.
Witnesses described how they heard frantic shouting emanating from The Captain's detached home on Letsby Avenue and feared that the amiable eccentric was possibly embroiled in a life or death struggle with some stray Taliban insurgents or something, and so called the police.
Upon entering the dwelling, according to unconfirmed reports, PC Poppadom, who was on his way round there anyway, found The Captain in furious temper, ranting and raving at a house full of clothes store mannequins.
One particularly nosy neighbour, who managed to observe events through an open window, and heard every word, told us:
"It was a bit odd, to say the least. PC Poppadom was trying to calm The Captain down. The old boy was blowing his whistle, jumping up and down, waving his arms about and having a right go at all these mannequins, what were like, all posed around the house everywhere, wearing weird gear and whatnot."
Following a tense stand-off, which went on for several minutes, eyewitnesses stated that The Captain snatched a banana from a fruit bowl on the sideboard and threatened to pummel his own head to a pulp with the offending palm fruit, if he wasn't left alone to sort out his differences with the mannequins.
PC Poppadom later told a bystander that he attempted to back away from the confrontation until such time as police reinforcements showed up, but that his cunning plan was thwarted when The Captain hit himself with a tentative banana blow to the temple.
Realising that it was one of those 'now or never' moments in life, the brave PC managed to haul The bananacidal Captain to ground with a well timed rugby tackle, after which he was able to effectively subdue The Captain with a leg scissor hold with his face squashed against the back of the sofa. (The Captain's face - not PC Poppadom's face - what do you want? Fleet Street?)
After about an hour and a quarter, a team of mental health specialists arrived and took The Captain away in a big net, tossed him in the back of a van and rushed him to the loony bin at Bembridge, where he remains under observation. Although he was allowed to keep his whistle - providing he doesn't blow it all the time and upset the other loonies.
It later transpired that The Captain, a solitary man, had been stealing clothes shop mannequins from local clothes shops for years, and posing them in various locations around his residence in order that he might interact with them, in his own deluded manner.
A council official later confirmed that mannequins had been positioned all around the residence, dressed up like Boy George in his Culture Club heyday, Adam Ant, Marilyn Monroe, Darth Vader, Alice Cooper, John Wayne, Batman, Al Capone, some cowboys, the Spice Girls, Dolly Parton, Anne Robinson, and the entire cast of Twilight.
Ryde Police Detectives have been baffled for years, since store mannequins started being reported missing in 1982.
A neighbour commented that The Captain "was probably a bit lonely, and looking for company."
The case has now been closed, although The Captain has since had his whistle confiscated and has been stuck to a loony bin cell wall tightly strapped up in a velcro suit.
More as we get it.