Scarecrow's police ordeal

PUBLISHED: 12:39 08 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:17 07 July 2010

VILLAGERS were left clutching at straws over a disappearing scarecrow -until police admitted they had apprehended him for sending out an “inappropriate” message.

VILLAGERS were left clutching at straws over a disappearing scarecrow -until police admitted they had apprehended him for sending out an “inappropriate” message.

Miranda Skillings made the 7ft policeman to advertise a scarecrow festival at next week's village fete in Brancaster.

Standing at the roadside, he came complete with a speed camera made from a plastic pop bottle and a sign saying: “Slow yew down bor - yer enterin' scarecrow country”.

But instead of spreading the word about road safety and the village fete, he disappeared without so much as a dicky bird just hours after he went on show on Saturday morning.

“We called him Les after Les Brackpool, the old village bobby who died a few years back,” said Mrs Skillings, 56, who lives just off Main Road.

“We put him outside the old police house, but he'd only been out there a few hours and he was nicked.

“Someone said you should report it, so we called a few numbers and they passed us on to Wymondham and they gave us a crime number and said they'd look into it.”

It wasn't looking hopeful. There were no witnesses. Snouts weren't singing. Grasses weren't grassing. The trail looked set to go cold.

Mrs Skillings was resigned to becoming another crime statistic. Then the phone rang.

“They said 'that's Hunstanton police here, we think we've got your scarecrow',” said Mrs Skillings.

“When I said where did you find him, they just said: 'It's a long story, we'll bring him back'.

“Apparently, a non-local police officer saw him and took him in.”

Officers took Les back in a police Landrover and he is back on duty.

Insp Dave Buckley, from Hunstanton and Burnham neighbourhood policing team, said: “We gave permission for the organisers to create a scarecrow of a police officer - the owner used a plastic drinks bottle to symbolise a speed radar gun.

“As a result an officer removed the scarecrow as it portrayed an incorrect and inappropriate message to passing motorists.

“We appreciate the spirit of the family-oriented festival but our priority is the safety of motorists.”

Mrs Skillings is now disguising Les, in the hope this will stop him getting his collar felt again before the fete, on July 18. “I've made him some sunglasses,” she said.

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