RESIDENTS of West Kilbride are devastated after the handmade scarecrows they had made for the upcoming festival were vandalised for a second year in a row.

And tragically, one of the village’s original scarecrows, the much-loved ‘Old Man’ had his head sawn clean off and it has not been found.

The familiar flat-capped Old Man has been a fixture at the so-called ‘Old Man’s Rest’ since the festival’s beginnings more than a decade ago.

Other scarecrows were also decapitated and the Popeye effigy had his face torn in half.

Jacqueline Wilson, of West Kilbride Scarecrow Gala Committee, said that she was “sickened” by the recent spate of vandalism.

She told the Herald: “The kids are taking it badly. We’ve spent all the past six or seven months making them.

“It’s all the heads that have been cut off and they’re missing. They’ve actually sawn off the head of the Old Man. We don’t know what they did with the head, probably thrown it in the bin. We’ll have to make another one but we won’t have time to do it for this year.

“The Old Man must be about 14-yearsold, he was one of the originals. He appeared on the BBC last year.

“They’ve cut off half of Popeye’s face so now I’ll have to make a new one. And the one at the garage lost its head and all the stuffing was thrown around.

“Scott [who works at the garage] got them [the vandals] on CCTV and he’s hoping to get a better look at it when he gets time.

“We’re hoping Scott gets good CCTV of them because then we can contact the police and let them deal with it.

“It’s ridiculous. The kids love going round the village and spotting all the scarecrows as well.”

Just before last year’s festival, the Herald reported that scarecrows across the village had been desecrated.

Popeye’s arm was pulled off and thrown aside, Shrek’s gloves put on his arm, and Olive Oyl’s nose was pulled off.

Also among the figures destroyed last year was the festival’s mascot which was used in the village’s first festival.

Jacqueline said: “Next year we’ll have to put up CCTV for them.

“Mickey Mouse was badly damaged last year and we’ve just realised we couldn’t put him out. He just looked too much of a mess. It’s awful they keep damaging them.”

A spokesman from Police Scotland said: “We have a note of an incident regarding West Kilbride and damaging scarecrows which occurred on Wednesday, July 12 at about 8pm at night.

“The complaint was youths causing general annoyance and there is mention of damage to scarecrows.

“Unfortunately, when police attended there was no trace of the youths suspected of involvement.”