THIEVES are being blamed for taking down a banner in honour of North-East Olympic hero, Amy Tinkler.
The gymnast – the youngest member of Team GB at 16 – won bronze at the Rio Games.
She is due home any time following the conclusion of the competition.
A spokesman for her club, South Durham Gymnastics, wrote on Facebook this evening.
“With only hours to go until our Olympic Medallist Amy Tinkler arrives home it’s with great sadness that some thieves have taken down the banner we had put up on Bracksfarm roundabout at the entrance to Amy’s estate!” they wrote.
“We were very excited for Amy to see how much the town was getting behind her and would like to ask anyone who perhaps knows the whereabouts of the sign to kindly return it before midnight!
“If you have taken it as a souvenir then please take it back and perhaps we could arrange for it to be signed and given back to you once Amy has returned home!”
Joanne Kitching wrote on Facebook in reply: “Have a heart for a young lady who has given her all and earned GB a well earned medal. Hand it in to Spennymoor Leisure Centre!”
While Paula Anderson wrote: “The banner that was put up outside Bishop Auckland Asda has also been taken. Hope they are returned for her homecoming.”
Maureen Catterson Amos wrote: “Very disrespectful … This young lady has put a lot of time and hard work into something she loves. A lot of people are very proud in what she has done.”
On her Instagram page earlier in the day, Amy wrote: “These past three weeks have been incredible.
“Thank you to everyone who has made this Olympics so special. I couldn’t have asked to spend the last few months with better people …. Rio you’ve been great.”