During a dawn raid, 12 burly officers accused pub workers of hiding the supposed cup Jesus Christ drank from at the last supper
Police hunting for the stolen Holy Grail were left red-faced when all they found was a wooden salad bowl.
The team of 12 officers accused pub workers of hiding the missing ancient relic, thought by many to be the cup Jesus Christ drank from at the Last Supper.
Police and a dog handler locked all the staff inside while they searched every inch of the 15th century pub on their quest.
But after an hour the only thing they found that looked like the missing medieval cup was a wooden bowl used to serve salad to customers.
Shocked landlady Di Franklyn said: “I was amazed to see so many police – they said they had been given information that this Holy Grail had been shown off by someone here.
“But if somebody had stolen something as priceless as the Holy Grail I don’t think it would be on show in my pub.
“But the police were taking the information very seriously because there were so many of them including a police dog handler.”
Legend has it that the cup has healing powers and was named after the vessel that Jesus drank out of during the Last Supper.
Staff at the Crown pub in Lea, Herefordshire, were not allowed to leave the premises during the search and a policeman stood guard during the early morning raid.
Bemused Di, 54, said: “I have been shown a picture of the missing cup – if it had been here we would have thrown it on the fire because it is not whole any more.
“The only thing here that looks like it is an old salad bowl.”
The cup is said to have been brought to Britain by Joseph of Arimathea, the founder of a religious settlement in Glastonbury during the mediaeval period.
The grail then came into the possession of a group of Somerset monks who later fled with the cup to Strata Florida Abbey, near Tregaron in in Ceredigion.
For centuries the historic cup was kept at Nanteos Mansion in the village of at Rhydfelin near Aberystwyth.
But it was stolen while being cared for by Fiona Mirylees, from Weston-under-Penyard, Herefordshire, whose family once owned the mansion in Wales.
Police said the cup went missing after it had been loaned to a seriously-ill woman because of its healing powers.
When the fragile dark wooden cup was stolen, sometime between Monday July 7 and Monday July 14 – the remaining pieces were not taken.
West Mercia Police officers said the raid was carried out after they “received intelligence” that the stolen cup had been seen in the pub.
A spokesman said: “We were told it was still there and so executed a search warrant to try and find it.”