Mary and baby Jesus stolen from Rayleigh yarn bomb scene

Nativity scene in Rayleigh before it was vandalised Image copyright Craft Club Yarnbombers
Image caption The Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, pictured here before they were taken, took more than a week to make

Thieves have stolen a crocheted Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus from a festive "yarn bomb" scene in Essex.

The figures were part of a display on top of a post box in Rayleigh High Street, installed by members of Craft Club on 17 December.

Member Helen Thomas said whoever removed the two figures had unpicked them "very carefully".

The 20cm (8in) high Mary took "more than a week to make" and her theft has left her creator "very upset".

"Perhaps somebody saw them and thought they'd make nice toys," Mrs Thomas said of the characters, who were first noticed missing on 19 December.

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Image copyright Craft Club
Image caption Creators said whoever removed the Mary and Jesus figures had done so "very carefully"

This year, Craft Club placed four Christmas-themed yarn bombs on post boxes around south Essex, including in Leigh-on-Sea and Chalkwell.

The club also made a 4.5m (15ft) high Christmas tree made from squares donated from around the world.

The yarn bombs are raising money for the Castle Point Association for Voluntary Services.

Image copyright Craft Club
Image caption Craft Club members have been working for weeks on various festive decorations

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