AN Aston Villa mad family from Halesowen had an unforgettable day at Wembley spoiled – by a fellow fan nicking their cherished hand-made Villa flag.

Mark Bartlett, 57, and his sons Andrew, 29, and David, 27, took their custom-made banner to Villa’s Championship play-off final win against Derby County.

But the joy of seeing their revered Villa promoted back to the Premier League was somewhat soured when they realised that the flag they had hung up behind the goal had been pinched.

The family are asking other Villa supporters to keep an eye out for the beloved banner after saying they had little help from the police and Wembley over the theft.

Mark, from Abbeyfields, said: “It will probably never see the light of day again - unless somebody thinks ‘I’ve done something wrong’ and returns it – because if we see it at a game, we will know it’s ours.

“The problem is that if we see it somewhere, there’s going to be an incident and that’s what we want to avoid.

“It’s quite unique, it’s not something you would buy off the shelf and it’s only ever going to appeal to a Villa fan from Halesowen.

“There was a spate of thefts at the World Cup where Russian hooligans were stealing fans’ flags as trophies but this is different – we are all Villa fans after all and you think people would be respectful of others’ property.

“Maybe it was over-exuberance after a few beers but then they should think ‘I shouldn’t have done that’ and return it.

“We’ve watched the highlights and during the game it popped up on TV three or four times so it was still there while the match was on.

“But when we went to get it half an hour after the final whistle it had gone.

“Andrew asked a steward, who said a guy had taken it and said it was his.

“Wembley weren’t very helpful at all – we asked if they had any CCTV and they said no.”

The trio were among a large group of Villa fans from Halesowen who attended the final – including several former Earls High schoolmates of brothers Andrew and David.

They were sat near the corner flag, 19 rows back, only 25 yards from their banner but because of the lengthy Villa celebrations after the final whistle they did not see who took it.

Mark had the flag – a St George’s cross with ‘Halesowen Villa’ emblazoned on it and a Villa badge hand-stitched in the top right quadrant – custom made in 2016 at a cost of around £200.

He added: “It’s a family flag. The boys went to the European Championships in France a couple of years ago and I bought the flag for them to take with them.

“It’s a proper hand-made flag, not like these ones you see with writing all over them.”

David has been working in Australia for the past year and planned to take the flag back Down Under with him, having already taken it to the most recent Ashes cricket series in Melbourne.

Mark added: “David went to the final last year (when Villa lost to Fulham) so he was determined to come back this year and he went back to Australia much happier, albeit without our flag.

“It sort of spoilt the day but as I said to the lads, it’s a flag. If we can get it back, fantastic. If not, we move on and maybe get another one made.

“One of the main reasons we want to get this out there is that if we come across the flag, then stories like this show that it’s ours!”