VILLAGERS have seen the funny side of the unwanted attention its scarecrow competition has attracted after a traffic officer effigy was targeted by pranksters who pulled his trousers down several times and put a pair of boxer shorts on his head.

Four videos captured on CCTV show the jokers running up to the mannequin in Hunwick, near Crook, before tampering with it and making off.

Dressed in a high-visibility jacket and holding a speed gun, it was put up for the village’s inaugural scarecrow competition.

And while continued assaults on the model policeman might be a source of frustration to its owner, it has helped raise the profile of the competition.

Ian Richardson, owner of The Joiner’s Arms, which has organised the scarecrow competition as part of Hunwick Show, said: “We thought we’d give it (the competition) a go and I didn’t think it would turn out the way it has.

“It’s gone viral – there are 70 now and they are popping up each day in the village.

“The Quarry Burn and the village shop have got involved and all the community too.

“When things like this happen – it getting harassed – it creates a bit of publicity and everybody is enjoying the craic of what’s happening in the village.”

He added: “It seems to be bringing people in the community back together and people who have just moved to the village think it’s great.”

Kimberley Stockdale-Barrass decided to enter the traffic officer on behalf of her father, who suggested it as a way of helping reduce speeding drivers through the village.

The mother-of-two, who also entered her own Spider-Man creation, tied the mannequin to a post on Saturday, August 11, and has tracked the episodes of vandalism.

On CCTV from her house, she captured people pulling the trousers down on Thursday during the day and again on Friday night.

On Saturday night a person tried to pull them down again and broke the clasp on the trousers – causing the arm to fall off in the struggle.

And on Monday night someone was spotted putting a pink pair of boxer shorts onto its head.

Ms Stockdale-Barrass has continued to repair the competition entry but said it had become “tedious” and has appealed for people to leave it alone.

She said it has had a “huge impact” on the speed of motorists and for that reason hopes it could even become a permanent fixture.

“There is no malice intended but he’s getting damaged in the process which is becoming a burden on me to keep fixing him,” added the 35-year-old.

“Nobody sticks to the speed limit and we’ve had speeding measures in the village but nothing has been effective.

“Within an hour I sat and watched and saw people slamming their brakes on. It had an immediate impact.”

Scarecrow competition entrants will be judged via a village vote at the annual Hunwick Show, on the village green, on Bank Holiday Monday.

At the show there will be the usual vegetable growing and home produce competitions, stalls, hot food and refreshments, children’s entertainment and its first dog show.

For more information about the competition contact The Joiner’s Arms on 01388-605131.