From the Times of London:

Centurions of the Ninth Legion spotted three Brigantes stealing lead from a roof in Eboracum, but the thieves escaped before the might of the Roman army could catch them and throw them to the lions.

An entire legion pursued the Brigantes, who are nowadays known as Yorkshiremen, through the streets of the city now called York, but failed to catch them.

North Yorkshire Police yesterday confessed they had made no arrests, but then Imperial Rome always did have a low opinion of the native British.

Three centurions and an army of re-enactors, all dressed in the uniform once feared from Hadrian’s Wall to Judea, were relaxing during a break in a display to celebrate York’s Roman Festival at the weekend.

Centurion Maximus Gluteus, who is known to his family and friends as Keith Mulhearn, was discussing the implications of antisocial behaviour with two fellow officers when they noticed activity on the roof of a nearby library.

“I just looked up and said: ‘I don’t believe this; there are guys on the roof,’” Mr Mulhearn said. “One was on the apex and he was tugging something. We realised there is lead all the way up there, and I shouted to one of the lads to phone the police.”

Summoning his legion with its armoury of weapons, including swords and bayonets, Centurion Mulhearn and his platoon surrounded the library before joining police in a search for the thieves. But they had made a quick getaway.

Rome thought it had subdued the Brigantes when it moved the Ninth Legion from Lincoln, its northernmost garrison in Britannia Inferior, into the wild territory beyond the Humber in AD71. Nearly a century later it was sent further north to disperse other barbarian hordes and disappeared completely at the hands of what would today be called Northumbrians, Scots, or other untamed persons unknown. It became known as the Lost Legion.

A spokesman for the present-day city council said: “We are extremely grateful to those who helped prevent the theft of items from City of York council property.”

The price of plumbum, meanwhile, is on the up, and is quoted at around 60 denarii per libra on the internal metal exchange. To a modern Yorkshireman, that’s about 63 pence per pound.