A MUCH-LOVED bear has been stolen from a front garden.
The £200 wooden sculpture was chained to the front of Geoff and Yvonne Spafford’s house in Whiteley until it was pinched.
The couple are upset about the theft as the bear was loved by their grandchildren and other youngsters in the neighbourhood.
Mr and Mrs Spafford, of Connemara Crescent, would dress the bear up for Valentine’s Day and St George’s Day as well as other occasions like the football and cricket world cups.
Mr Spafford said: ‘We bought it about four years as a Christmas present from a company in Cumbria.
‘It is about three-feet high and made from solid wood that has been sawn to look like a bear.
‘Our grandchildren loved it and are upset now it’s been taken.’
The couple would dress the bear up for their grandchildren’s birthdays as well as for the other children in the street.
‘We put it outside the front door and kids would come up and speak to it and play with it,’ said the 65-year-old. ‘When it was their birthday, we would put up a sign, like the bear was wishing them happy birthday.
‘All the children are sad and we’re disappointed because not only was it quite expensive but everyone loved it.
‘We have had a lot of support from neighbours who said they would keep and eye out for it.’
Mr Spafford thinks the bear was taken overnight last Friday, on January 16.
He said they woke up on Saturday and found it was gone.
‘It was definitely there at 8pm on Friday because I had seen it,’ he said.
‘Then at 8.45pm, we had a couple of bangs and the dog barked but we didn’t think anything of it. We thought it might have been fireworks.
‘It wasn’t until I went to walk the dog the next day that I noticed it gone. Some of the base was in the road so it must have been put in some sort of vehicle.
‘It was heavy and quite awkward to lift so there must have been a couple of them.’
Mr and Mrs Spafford reported the incident to Hampshire Constabulary which is investigating it.