A SCARECROW policeman who was harassed last year by having his trousers pulled down and boxer shorts put on his head has been the centre of unwanted attention again in this year's competition .

Hunwick, near Crook, hosts a scarecrow festival which draws many people to the village. However, it can also draw troublemakers – and this year the policeman, who stands at the side of a road with a speed gun, had his hat stolen.

The unknown prankster stole the item after a night out at the pub, but was caught on CCTV – and after 3,000 shares on Facebook he had a change of heart and returned the headgear.

Last year, the same policeman helped raise the profile of the competition by constantly having his trousers tampered with, which villagers took in good humour.

The scarecrows are well loved part of the village fete, with creative residents using their imaginations to make all kinds of effigies. Some are very recognisable – and some aren't.

Masterpieces can be created from everyday items including kitchen utensils, left over party balloons and unused clothes from their wardrobe.

The competition is in its second year and organisers hope to beat last year's total of 81 scarecrows.

The Northern Echo: Last year's traffic officer was subjected to repeated 'harassment'Last year's traffic officer was subjected to repeated 'harassment'

Residents of Hunwick or the surrounding villages have until August 12 to enter the competition.

The scarecrows will be judged as part of the village fete on Bank Holiday Monday, August 26.

The winner will be decided by a public vote. Last year the Bee Keeper scarecrow was the winner – it has been re-entered this year, but faces stiff competition

Current entrants range from the classic policeman, chef, rock star and SAS scarecrow to pop culture and fantasy scarecrows like the gingerbread man from Shrek – along with Shrek himself – Puss in Boots, Humpty Dumpty and Pennywise the Clown from the Stephen King horror story It.

Entries cost £2 and the money raised goes back into the village fete. Entry forms are available from the Joiners Arms, Quarry Burn, Hunwick Club and Jeans Shop.

To find out more, contact the Joiners Arms pub on 01388-417878.

Other parts of the fete will include the usual tombola, hot food stalls and refreshments.