A REWARD is offered to anyone who helps police arrest vandals who beheaded then torched charity scarecrows.
Mickle Trafford Scarecrow Trail has been hit by vandals almost nightly for the last three weeks, leaving some straw-filled characters without their heads.
A scarecrow of children's TV character Patrick Starfish was reduced to charred remains on Thursday after it was set alight in Station Lane.
Resident Lilian Ancliff has asked local businesses and individuals to contribute to a reward for information leading to the arrest of the culprits.
She said: 'Three businesses have already agreed to do it. It may not be a big reward but if it is enough to stop this happening again it is worth it.'
Creator of the Patrick Starfish scarecrow Ian Draycott said the first he knew of the fire was when the fire service pulled up outside.
Neighbours dialled 999 and threw buckets of water on the burning figure.
Watch Manager John Griffiths of Chester Fire Station said: 'They had tried to put the scarecrow out with buckets of water but there was no chance.'
Mr Draycott added: 'The vandalism has been bad but this has taken it to a new level.'
Mr Draycott said he and a lot of residents will think twice about constructing scarecrows again next year.
'It is such a disappointment for the kids that I wouldn't want to put them through it again.
'If the police can catch whoever has done this, it would go a long way to making people take part again.'
PC Vaughan Marks of Mickle Trafford Police Station said: 'A member of the public has already supplied us with a registration number of a suspicious car seen in the village on Thursday and we will be investigating.
* If you have information call Cheshire Police on 0845 458 6377. To contribute to the reward call Mickle Trafford Post Office on 01244 301165.
The winning scarecrows will be announced at Mickle Trafford Primary School fair on Saturday, from 12-3pm. Entry is free.
Ode to a vandalised scarecrow
Mickle Trafford resident Lilian Ancliff wrote this poem after her scarecrows, Dolly and Jack Straw, were vandalised: Poor Dolly's looking all forlorn, she stands there all alone, Gazing down on poor Jack's body from which his head has gone.
We hope you enjoyed your childish prank, you must be hooligans, With hands so empty, hearts so cold, It's only vandalism that makes you feel so bold.
We in Mickle Trafford know what punishment we'd give to fit your crime, But me, I give thanks to God that you're not sons of mine.