POLICE have thwarted an attempt by the South African rugby association to steal Johnny Wilkinson's feet before Saturday's world cup final.
Officers raided addresses in London early this morning and are believed to have found detailed blueprints of the England fly-half, a mallet, a set of electronic hedgecutters and a coolbox.
Four men with unusual Dutch sounding names have been arrested and are expected to be charged later today under the Foot Removal Prohibition Act (2003).
A police spokesman said: "The coolbox suggests they may have been intending to return the feet after the game, but it's still not very nice."
A spokesman for the RFU said: "Removal of a body part is a traumatic experience for any rugby player.
"Johnny has spent the last 10 years trying to cope with the removal of his scrotum. Do you think he stands that way because he wants to?"
Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe issued a statement condemning the South African attempt on Wilkinson's feet.
He said: "Some will no doubt pretend that the Springboks are a post-apartheid celebration of multi-culturalism, representing 21st century South Africa, blah, blah, fucking blah.
"But we all know they're actually a bunch of dirty, big Afrikaaner baastards who, if they were born 20 years earlier, would have been queuing up to join the police."