Hippo sculpture stolen from Chilstone ornament makers
An "extremely heavy" bronze hippo has been stolen from a luxury garden ornament business.
The three-quarter tonne beast, described as "hugely distinctive" by police, was taken from the Chilstone showgarden near Tunbridge Wells.
Officers think the 2m (6ft 7in) sculpture may have been lifted onto the back of a truck by "mechanical means".
Kent Police appealed for witnesses who may have spotted the unusual cargo due to "its sheer size".
No other items were reported stolen during the raid in Langton Green, on Wednesday, police said.
'Hard to sell'
Rural crime taskforce PC Nick Lingham said: "The hippo is extremely heavy and in the past it has taken five people to lift it."
"It is clear those responsible would have needed a large vehicle such as a flatbed truck and may have also needed to lift it by mechanical means.
"It is a hugely distinctive object and it is unlikely the offenders will find it that easy to sell on as scrap or to a collector."
On its website, Chilstone is described as a maker of "bespoke" garden ornaments which boasts Royal Palaces and National Trust properties as customers.