Leeds nostalgia: The day vandals chopped the top off Barwick-in-Elmet’s Maypole... in May 1996

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Vandals wrecked an 88-foot long maypole just weeks before it was to be used in its annual village festival.

The pole in question was to be used by Barwick-in-Elmet, while the festival was said to date back to Viking times. But just three weeks before the gala, vandals sawed the top 15ft off the pole - one of the tallest in Britain.

The Maypole committee were said to be “bemused”, with member Gary Jones said: “We can only guess it is vandals who wanted a souvenir.”

The pole, which was 4ft wide at the base and about 10in wide at the top, was lying in the Hall Tower Field at the time.

But it wasn’t the first time it had been the subject of mischief - 20 years earlier, villagers from neighbouring Aberford stole the top half of the pole as a joke.