Police remove village's 'traffic officer' scarecrow
A joke scarecrow which was dressed as a policeman with a fake speed radar gun was removed by officers and taken to a police station because it "sent out an inappropriate message".
Published: 2:20PM BST 07 Jul 2009
The 7ft tall scarecrow was put up on the roadside to promote a village scarecrow festival while also encouraging speeding motorists to slow down.
However, a passing policewoman took it away in her patrol car within four hours of it being put up in Brancaster, Norfolk.
The scarecrow was later reported stolen by festival organiser Miranda Skillings, 56, who had earlier got permission from police to put up the fake traffic officer.
After three hours Norfolk Police located the scarecrow and an officer was sent to replace it.
However, Mrs Skillings was asked to remove the fake radar gun as the force believed it was giving out "an inappropriate message" and might confuse drivers.
Mrs Skillings said: "We get people to put up scarecrows in their gardens and funny places as a prelude to the fete. Last year we had around 50 in the village.
"We always put up a couple of scarecrows early to encourage people to take part and this year we decided to make a policeman with a speed gun.
"I thought it would have the added benefit of slowing down motorists who come speeding through the village."
Insp Dave Buckley, of Norfolk Police's Hunstanton and Burnham neighbourhood policing team, said in a statement: "We gave permission for the organisers to create a scarecrow of a police officer - but the owner of the scarecrow 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.
"Speed radars are used to prevent casualties on our roads and to address the irresponsible actions of motorists. They should not be re-created by the roadside in jest."