PRE-SCHOOL children have been left devastated after a callous thief stole their prized scarecrow from a churchyard.
For the fourth year running the children at St Mary’s Church Busy Bee parent and toddler group have enjoyed making scarecrows for the annual Battle Scarecrow Festival.
And for the fourth year running, the group’s scarecrows have been the target for vandals or thieves.
This year, following the comic and cartoon theme, they choose to create Upsy Daisy and Iggle Piggle from the popular children’s book In the Night Garden.
Volunteer Mothers’ Union member and leader of the group Vikki Cook spent several hours erecting and tweaking both scarecrows on Monday afternoon on the launch day of the 2013 festival.
But when she returned to the site on Wednesday, Upsy Daisy had vanished.
She said: “ I was devastated to arrive at St Mary’s Church on Wednesday morning to set up for the children’s session to discover Iggle Piggle had been uprooted and laid to the ground and Upsy Daisy missing.
“It may be a bit of a lark to someone but to the children it is devastating.
“For the fourth year our scarecrow has been spoilt or vandalised.
“It feels like victimisation.”
Over the past four years, Vikki has entered scarecrows on behalf of the Busy Bees, Battle Brownies and Sedlescombe Guides.
Each year parts of the scarecrows go missing or the scarecrows are stolen.
Vikki said: “Each year I spend many hours repairing and replacing the scarecrows because I believe Battle is a great place to live with an amazing community spirit and I try and encourage children and their parents to be a part of that.
“I am really saddened that some members of our community have to spoil it for everyone else.
“What lesson is that teaching to the children?”
The theft has been reported to the police who are investigating.
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.