The entire Olympic Village was stolen from East London last night, prompting further concerns over the security of the Games.
Despite being guarded by a substantial number of highly trained A-level students wearing fluorescent bibs, at least a few of whom were thought to have been awake at the time of the incident, thieves made off with the 80,000 tonne steel and concrete centre-piece of London's hopes and dreams sometime between the hours of midnight and 6am.
Police are asking anyone who saw "a very large building, or group of buildings" being moved around East London last night to contact them immediately.
A police spokesman said: "The village was last seen in situ at about midnight last night by a member of the public. By dawn this morning all sign of it had vanished, as had the Uruguayan ping pong team who were sleeping inside the village at the time of the incident. Unfortunately it appears that the village had not been secured properly to the ground and as such was an easy target for passing thieves."
Unfortunately these kind of opportunistic thefts are all too common in London these days and we always knew there would be an increase during the period of the Olympics. These Olympic villages can fetch a substantial sum on the black market". The spokesman also speculated that Brazil might have been behind the theft - "obviously as hosts of the 2016 Games there is an obvious motive" he said.
The Organising Committee of the Olympic Games were today bolting all the remaining Olympic facilities to the ground in an attempt to prevent further thefts before the opening ceremony.
Hopes that the village might be found were initially raised when a member of the public reported seeing a large concrete structure "looking very strange and out of place", but police later confirmed that the man had mistaken the Olympic village for Milton Keynes.