VANDALS have been targeting scarecrows made especially for a village competition - one of which was found with rope around it and is believed to have been dragged behind a vehicle.

But despite the incidents, which have seen the scarecrows taken and damaged, residents in Sandeheath have come together to continue with the competition.

The incidents were reported on Tuesday, May 18 and Saturday (May 23).

After the first incident, residents and those in surrounding areas rallied together to find the missing scarecrows and repair the damaged ones, which were on display as part of the annual scarecrow competition organised by Sandleheath Community Association.

During the first incident a scarecrow of Prime Minister Boris Johnson holding a baby was taken and found discarded near Rockbourne while two more were found near Damerham and Alderholt. Rope was found around one of the scarecrows - the delivery man scarecrow.

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Speaking after that incident Abbey Simmons, the chairman of Sandleheath Community Association, said: “One was found with rope attached to it and they all looked like they have been behind the back of a car - dragging them down the road. They were all badly damaged.”

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In the latest incident the Boris Johnson scarecrow was targeted once again but could not be repaired this time. The Room on the Broom scarecrow that had been previously damaged and repaired was also missing.

Scarecrows of an NHS nurse and Sponge Bob Square Pants were also taken.

Abbey added: “It is just terrible for all the people that put in all the effort and especially because there was a big surge of entries after the first time, as if the village was coming together to say ‘you won’t spoil our fun’. Then they’ve gone and done it again.”

“The atmosphere in the village is still very much that we are going to carry on and do it,” she added.

She says a pile of material from a scarecrow was also found but no-one knows where that came from. It was found with Boris the scarecrow. Abbey also warned other areas holding scarecrow competitions to be aware.

Abbey said: “Quite a few people heard it this time it was about 11.30 in the evening.”

The first time a disturbance was heard at around 2am.

Next year, the competition will go ahead but the association’s committee will be advising participants to create smaller scarecrows that can be taken inside at night.

The winners of this year’s competition will be announced later.