Residents in the usually crime-free village of Duns Tew are scratching their heads over the mystery of a stolen scarecrow.
The missing figure was one of 16 made for a summer fete competition. Among them was an scarecrow of the vicar, made by his wife and propped up in the church pulpit.
“Duncie Stew was a lovely scarecrow made by Sarah who was in charge of cream teas,” said villager Helen Hammond.
“It’s a mystery worthy of Miss Marple. It was lashed to a post in the main road outside Sarah’s home and it disappeared. We always joke that this is such an idyllic location and then this happens!
“The fete takes is held next to the church and we were almost waiting for a body to fall from the tower onto the cream teas,” she added.
“We can’t believe anyone in the village would stoop to stealing a scarecrow.
“Sarah was hoping she might be in with a chance of winning the prize for the best scarecrow – a luxury hamper.”
Mrs Hammond said Duncie Stew was one of a host of home made scarecrows dotted around the village.
“There was a Phantom of the Opera, a Queen and a Boy Scout. And the vicar’s wife made a scarecrow version of the vicar and put it in the pulpit. It terrified the congregation,” she said.
Former parish councillor Philip Giorgi, who made the Phantom scarecrow, said: “A lot of effort went into the entries and it was great to listen to people chatting about them as they walked their children and grandchildren around the exhibits.
“We are going to use photos of them for a Duns Tew calendar for 2016.”
Mr Giorgi said he could think of no reason why anyone would want to steal a scarecrow. I couldn’t believe it.
“It’s like a murder mystery. We didn’t think Duns Tew was that kind of village.”
The winning scarecrow was The Queen and the fete raised £5,000 for the church.