Grantchester - (Rotters): Fundamentalist evangelical vandals are being blamed tonight for the theft of a bronze statue of the Naked Good Shepherd, four sheep and a skyclad Virgin Mary doing a handstand from Jeffrey Archer's back garden in Grantchester, Cambridgeshire.
Jeffrey and Mary Archer are said to be inconsolable.
It is not the first time that their garden statuary has been in the news. The Nude Good Shepherd, a Christopher Marvell piece forged in 1998, attracted press attention in 2005 when a biography of Mary Archer by Margaret Crick said that she had asked the sculptor to reduce the size of the Shepherd's penis by at least six inches "so it could look more realistic, like my very own dear Jeffrey."
Marvell duly obliged but also took unilateral reciprocal action on the sheep by a none too subtle castration that was slammed as cruel and unusual by the RSPCA.
The nude handstanding Virgin Mary was given slightly different treatment with the inclusion of a half-protruding tampax visible from her pudenda.
"I think the Archers got the message", he later told BBC Newsnight about the incident.
Jeffrey Archer is best known for being the brains behind the 1983 Brinks Matt bullion heist, Prime Monster Margaret Thatcher's personal hitman and a former perjury jailbird who served time in London's HMP Belmarsh.
Elevated to the House of Lords by PM John Major, he was stripped of the Tory whip after completing his jail sentence and now officially sits as an independent working Peer.
But the Sergeant-at-Arms in the House of Lords has always said he will use his trusty electronic cattle-prod should Archer ever attempt to take his seat in the Upper House.
Archer is 69.