Theft of Bell End street sign 'a sad state of affairs', say locals

Bell End road sign has been taken from a village in Wollaston, Northamptonshire
Bell End road sign has been taken from a village in Wollaston, Northamptonshire

A village in Northamptonshire that regularly has its rudely-named street sign stolen has declared the most recent theft a “sad state of affairs”.

Bell End is a regular entry in top 10 lists of the rudest street names in the country, alongside its namesake in Rowley Regis, West Midlands, near Birmingham.

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However, the sign’s notoriety has made it an easy target for thieves and according to one resident it’s now stolen "at least once a year".

The “cheeky” street sign in Wollaston, Northamptonshire, was last taken on Tuesday afternoon, with villages describing the theft as “pathetic”.

Wollaston resident Christine Thurland, 80, told BBC News: "I don't understand why would anyone want to do something so silly."

READ MORE: These are the UK’s rudest place names

From Dude Chilling to Shitterton, all signs point to theft

Villager Neil Balderson, 39, said: "It has been a well-known feature in the village and there is a cheeky side to it.

"We regularly have people stop for photos and it's not unknown for people leave their mark with stickers and suchlike.

"The sign being taken is really quite a sad state of affairs."

One man from Northampton took it upon himself to ‘replace’ the street sign for locals, writing the words ‘Bell End’ in capital letters on his chest, crouching down in front of the empty plaque and flashing his naked torso at a camera.

The Bell End road is 100 metres long and took its name from the Bell Inn pub on the street corner, which has now closed down.

Wollaston villagers are not alone in having to put up with such antics.

In 2010, those living in the Dorset hamlet of Shitterton became so frustrated with the repeated stealing of their sign, they introduced a stone version weighing a tonne and a half to deter thieves.

The Bell End sign in Rowley Regis, West Midlands (Photo: SWNS)
The Bell End sign in Rowley Regis, West Midlands (Photo: SWNS)

Last year, Black Country residents in Bell End in Rowley Regis initiated a petition to alter the name, but not everyone was in favour; a counter-petition was launched which ultimately led to the historic name being saved.

Wollaston is home to other quirky street names such as Cobbs Lane, Duck End and Rotten Row.

The Borough Council of Wellingborough said it would replace the sign.

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