Belfast Telegraph

Nicked! Line of Duty scarecrow stolen

The Ted Hastings scarecrow
The Ted Hastings scarecrow

By Gillian Halliday

A scarecrow modelled on Superintendent Ted Hastings - the straight-talking Northern Irish officer in hit BBC drama Line of Duty - has been nicked in Norfolk.

The effigy of AC-12's commanding officer, played by Co Fermanagh actor Adrian Dunbar, went missing from a village last Thursday.

He was part of a Line of Duty tableau at Wighton's scarecrow festival, according to local media, and had been 'framed' - suggesting Hastings had been fitted up as a bent copper.

Made to 'the letter of the straw' during the May bank holiday by residents of the village of Wighton, its disappearance prompted a plea for its return from festival organisers, the BBC reported yesterday.

And Susie Freeman, who helped made the scarecrow, said she had not reported it to police because she didn't think it would right to waste an officer in the field on such a matter, saying it would be "an unfair use of resources, even though he is one of their own".

"I imagine Ted would say: 'Jesus, Mary and Joseph, they want my officers searching for a stolen scarecrow when we are committed to rooting out bent coppers'," she explained.

"It was just a bit of fun, but I put my heart and soul into it. It's hard not to take the theft personally."

Ms Freeman added if the case is solved, and Hastings is returned safe and sound, he could be used to raise money for a new village hall.

Yesterday it was revealed that Line of Duty has become one of top five most-watched dramas of the decade.

The show's nail-biting fifth series finale on Sunday, May 5 attracted a TV audience of 12.1m, according to new figures.

This is enough to rank it above some of the decade's other big-hitters, such as Broadchurch and Call the Midwife.

But it's not quite in the same league as Bodyguard, whose finale last year enjoyed a TV audience of 14.3m.

Bodyguard remains this decade's most-watched drama series, followed by Doctor Who, Sherlock and Downton Abbey.

The real AC-12 chief
The real AC-12 chief

Besides the TV audience of 12.1m, an additional 600,000 people saw Line of Duty's finale on other devices such as laptops and smartphones.

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