Police in Cambridgeshire have called off a full scale search for the market town of Wisbech after reports of it being stolen were revealed to be a hoax.
"We got a call around lunchtime from a person identifying himself as 'The Hawk' and claiming that he was holding it prisoner at a secret location," said Chief Inspector Placeholder of the Cambridgeshire constabulary. "Mr Hawk went on to explain that unless he received the sum of two million pounds in used banknotes by midnight, we would never see the town again."
At first the police were unconvinced of the reality of this mystery man's claim, bless 'em, but when a constable sent to check up on the town reported that he was unable to find it, they started to take the matter seriously.
Shortly afterwards, a plain brown envelope was delivered to the divisional headquarters containing various photographs of a masked man pointing a gun at a post office, threatening a phone box and standing outside a branch of Boots, hands on hips, apparently 'laughing maniacally'.
"It was at this point that we realised we were dealing with a professional," admitted Chief Inspector Placeholder. "This Hawk person clearly had access to a camera, and so we knew we couldn't take any chances.
"I ordered an immediate full scale search: helicopters, dog teams, miniature hovercraft and even a submarine, but to no avail. In desperation we sought the services of a psychic, but despite telling me that I was about to make a long journey and be reunited with a long lost acquaintance, she was of very little assistance.
"Help eventually came from a resident of Wisbech itself, who phoned us to say that she had seen the story on the evening news and wondered what all the fuss was about, since the town was exactly where it was supposed to be, and had been all day. It seems that we were the unwitting victims of a scam, and the reason our man had missed it earlier was because he had taken a wrong turn off the A47.
"Oops! Never mind, it turned out alright in the end - and we certainly won't be falling for that one again, I can tell you."