POLICE are now investigating the disappearance of a bell from the Red Lion pub in Yarnton.

Last month the Oxford Mail reported that the bell, which is a relic from HMS Yarnton, a Royal Navy patrol ship and former minesweeper, had gone missing from the pub.

It was presented to the village in 1985 when the ship was withdrawn after 30 years service and Yarnton Parish Council put it in the pub’s care.

Yarnton Parish Council claimed that the pub’s former landlady Chrissie Jones had got rid of the bell, despite the fact it was owned by the council. Chairman Fred Jones said Ms Jones told him she had given the bell to the Navy and would return it within a week, but he has not heard from her since.

When contacted by the Oxford Mail, she refused to comment on what had happened to it.

Royal Navy spokeswoman Donna Stephens said it would only want the bell back if it planned to build another HMS Yarnton, which it was not. Since the Mail’s original story, the parish council has contacted the police in the hopes the bell will be discovered.

Mr Jones said: “We have reported it to the police and it is in their hands now.”

Thames Valley Police spokeswoman Connie Primmer said: “The bell went missing from as early at July 7. We are investigating.”

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