The Union Jack flag that has been flying over Ryde bowling and coarse fishing club in Ryde has been stolen, with police investigating.
"The flag was there on Monday when I lowered it to half-mast for old Jim Halfway, RIP," said groundsman Doug Allotment, 57. "When I came to lower it to the half-mast position on Wednesday after we lost old Jim Jenkins to the lurgy on Tuesday, I saw it had gone."
The initial suspicion fell onto the group Isle of Wight Muslims Against Fascism, who may have wanted the flag to burn, but both members had airtight alibis and their mothers said that they'd been good boys since the graffiti incident at Ryde Community centre's mural of the White Cliffs of Dover. This has left Ryde police with no clue as to who might be responsible.
"We don't understand who would steal a Union Jack flag when they're only a couple of quid down on the Esplanade," said police constable Jenny Apple. "Union Jack's Flag stall has just had a big delivery, I saw his stall, it looked full."
PC Apple indicated that they have covered all the angles: "An extensive search of the bowling club has not turned it up, so we know it's not an insurance job. We also checked all of the flags on the boats in the harbour, and not one matched the description."
With no sign of the flag, the bowling club has commenced a "Replace our flag" fund, which aims to raise the five pounds necessary to purchase a new one. Donations can be made at the groundsman's hut.