A SKULL stolen from a pub in York has been found and returned to its rightful owners.

As The Press reported at the time, at about 1.05am on New Year's Day the skull of the last person to be executed in York was stolen from the historic Golden Fleece pub in the city centre.

In 1800, Elizabeth Johnson was found guilty of 'uttering a forged £1 bank note with intent to defraud the Bank Of England', a crime for which she was hanged on Knavesmire. The head of Elizabeth has since lived on the wall in the Golden Fleece public house.

When staff in the pub noticed that the skull was missing, they launched their own investigation on social media posting an appeal for skull to be returned. This appeal was unsuccessful, but the pub staff had a clear CCTV image of the suspect and contacted the police.

Officers launched an investigation and used the pub CCTV as well as CCTV in the city to identify the suspect. A man in his twenties immediately admitted the theft and proceeded to show police to his fireplace and they found Elizabeth's head sitting on top.

The offender has been dealt with via an out of court disposal and has since written a letter of apology.

PC Davies, who investigated the offence with his tutor is seven weeks into his policing career.

He said: “Before joining the police I was advised that no two days will ever be the same. This crime has certainly confirmed this.

“It was an interesting crime to investigate and at the same time has improved my knowledge on local history.

“I am chuffed that we were successful in identifying the offender and returning the stolen property.”