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Scarecrows - stolen they have been . . .
COMPETITORS in a family scarecrow festival have spoken of their disappointment after thieves made off with several exhibits, including characters from science fiction saga Star Wars.
Scarecrows representing Yoda and Darth Maul were taken overnight on Saturday, disappointing dozens of youngsters who turned up to view the creations on the second day of Sedgefield Scarecrow Festival.
Earlier that night, a scarecrow depicting the terrifying teenage girl from horror film The Ring was stolen from outside the Post Office and taken to the Golden Lion pub, where its arm was later found.
Andrew and Tammy Joyce, who created the Star Wars scene on the roof of their garage in Cross Street, were angry when they discovered the theft.
"Either they vaporised each other in the middle of the night and disappeared to a galaxy far, far away, or someone made off with them, " said Mr Joyce. "It's hardly the crime of the century, but it's such a shame people can't leave things alone."
Sedgefield postmaster Richie Parry, who created the third stolen scarecrow with a little help from his children, said: "I was annoyed as we put a lot of effort into it. My concern is that it will put people off entering next year."
The festival, which was organised by Sedgefield Town Council, was the first of its kind to be held in the town and, despite the thefts, it has been hailed as a great success.
More than 200 people attended the event to inspect the 35 imaginative entries and funds were raised for local causes, including the Butterwick Hospice.
Event organiser Maxine Robinson said: "People worked really hard on the scarecrows and it is such a shame that these thefts have marred what was a wonderful event. There were a lot of children who were looking forward to seeing the Star Wars characters on Sunday and were left disappointed."
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Sedgefield Neighbourhood Police Team on the non-emergency number 101.