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Legion outrage at D-Day tribute theft; Yobs take flag flying at half-mast to honour Ronald Reagan and war dead.

Byline: DAVID POWELL

THIEVES have stolen a British Legion Union Jack flying at half-mast to honour troops who died on D-Day.

Police were last night hunting four youths filmed on CCTV removing the flag from outside the Legion's Llandudno branch.

Legion staff believe the flag may have been taken by football fans because one of culprits was wearing an England hat.

Branch president and Llandudno town councillor Billy Evans said: ``We are horrified and disgusted at the theft of the Union flag.

``It was flying at half-mast for members and past members in the run-up to the D-Day commemorations on June 6.

``We were going to take it down afterwards but when Ronald Reagan died on June 5, we decided to leave it at half mast for another week.''

Legion cook Rod James discovered the theft yesterday morning when he spotted a flagpole on the pavement in Vaughan Street near the branch entrance.

The flag had been attached to a short flagpole set at an angle near a verandah.

Staff had planned to remove it first thing yesterday morning.

The Legion has its own CCTV camera which clearly showed four youths taking the flag.

One wore a white England hat with a St George cross.

Mr Evans said: ``We have a new verandah and the flagpole points out at an angle.

``You can't reach it from the pavement.

``Someone must have climbed up the drainpipe, snapped off the flagpole and passed the flag down.

``I would say England fans were responsible because one had an England hat on and it must have been just before England's match against France on Sunday.''

The flag would cost pounds 80 to replace but Mr Evans added: ``I am not bothered about the cost.

``It's the principle of treating it with respect which is important.''

He said police were fingerprinting the flagpole.

Dozens of veterans from North Wales -including members of the Royal British Legion's Ysceifiog, Nannerch and District branch -attended the D-Day 60th anniversary commemorations in Normandy nine days ago to honour the dead.

Its branch chairman Alan Cathery blamed ``pure yobbism'' for the theft.

He said: ``We had 47 veterans, 13 were D-Day veterans, in Normandy.

``They will be amazed that there is a generation that can do this,particularly as the decision was taken to fly the flag at half-mast for a double reason.

``It's pure yobbism.''
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 15, 2004
Words:396
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