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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 December, 2004, 12:52 GMT
Little Britain fans 'steal signs'
A Llanddewi-Brefi road sign photographed in October
One of the stolen Llanddewi-Brefi road signs photographed before it was nabbed
Fans of the cult BBC TV series Little Britain are under suspicion after the disappearance of three road signs from Llanddewi-Brefi in mid Wales.

Llanddewi-Brefi is home to Daffyd - "the only gay in the village" - one of the show's most popular characters.

Locals said one of the signs went missing several months ago, with the other two disappearing before Christmas.

Police said they were investigating and the highways authority had been told.

I think Matt Lucas and David Walliams should visit Llanddewi and erect new signs for us
Pub landlady Yvonne Edwards
Since the show shot to fame tourists are said to have flocked to the village, near Tregaron in Ceredigion, to have their photographs taken next to the road signs.

However, Neil Driver, owner of the village stores and post office, Siop Brefi, said there was no evidence Little Britain's fans were to blame for the thefts.

But he added that there seemed no other explanation.

"One old cast iron sign from about the 1950s or 60s went missing about three months ago," said Mr Driver.

"Two more recent signs were stolen before Christmas - I think it was the weekend before.

"There were a few tourists in the town that weekend and as usual they were having their photographs taken by the road signs.

"It wasn't until the Monday that someone came into the shop and said the signs, at both ends of the village, were missing."

Mr Driver, who has produced t-shirts for tourists with the slogan: 'Dafydd isn't the only gay in the village,' added: "We're the village with no name now."

Matt Lucas as Daffyd
Matt Lucas as the rubber-loving Daffyd
Mr Driver said his t-shirt sales had "gone through the roof" since the start of the second Little Britain series.

Since October he said he had received inquiries from around the world and had sold about 150. During the first series he sold about 40 to tourists.

Yvonne Edwards, landlady of the village New Inn pub, joked: "I think Matt Lucas and David Walliams should visit Llanddewi and erect new signs for us. People in Llanddewi think that the show's fans are to blame.

"They'll (Lucas and Walliams) receive a warm welcome and I think it's the least they could do."

She added: "I think the theft is quite selfish. Tourists like having their pictures taken next to the signs and that's been spoilt for everyone.

"People who visited the village usually visited the shop or the pub, but we'll miss out on that now.

"I can't understand why people get so infatuated with television programmes. Comedies and soap operas seem to have a fanatical following."

Ahead of the new Little Britain series, which started in October, the BBC News website visited Llanddewi-Brefi.

Many in the village seem bemused, and even annoyed, by the attention, while others admitted they did not understand the programme.


SEE ALSO:
In Pictures: Llanddewi-Brefi
12 Oct 04 |  In Pictures
Little Britain: from cult to classic
23 Dec 04 |  Entertainment
Triple triumph for Little Britain
22 Dec 04 |  Entertainment


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