Ralph Coates flag thieves are caught on CCTV at Turf Moor

THIEVES stole a flag flying at half-mast in memory of Clarets hero Ralph Coates from Turf Moor in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Tuesday, 4th January 2011, 3:10 pm

Two men were captured on CCTV as they climbed over Gate B3 to get into the ground and scarpered away from the Bob Lord stand, carrying their booty.

Club officials had flown the flag at half-mast since the death of the 64-year-old former player who died on December 17th following a serious stroke.

He was part of Burnley’s success in the late 1960s and early 1970s, scoring 32 goals in 261 appearances. Two of his England caps were earned as a Claret.

The club has appealled for anyone who knows about the theft, or the whereabouts of the 6ft x 4ft flag to get in touch with the police. “Who ever took the flag knew exactly what they were doing,” said club spokesman Darren Bentley. “It can only be raised and lowered from inside the Bob Lord stand, so they knew where to go after climbing into the stadium.”

CCTV footage puts the theft as happening between 2-10 a.m. and 2-20 a.m. The two men, identified as white and in their late teens or early 20s, are believed to have been with two other men who waited for them outside the ground.

One of the men who broke into the stadium was wearing a black and white hooped hooded top, black trousers and white trainers.

The other was in a blue and white hooded top, light blue jeans and black shoes.