A couple were left devastated after a treasured piece of garden furniture disappeared from their home.
But that disappointment turned to fury when they realised that their hand-crafted tree-stump table had been spirited away in front of several neighbours by thieves in an almost military style operation.
Mark and Julie Rymell returned to their home in St Mary’s Terrace on August 18 and immediately spotted that the table had gone.
The piece of wood originally formed the base and major roots of an oak tree cut down so those roots became legs and the trunk became the table top.
Mark, 51, immediately quizzed nearby neighbours in the hope of finding out just how the substantial piece of wood had been taken.
He said: “It seems that at about 8.30am on Monday, a large white van, complete with a hydraulic tailgate, pulled up outside my home. Two men, possibly three, wearing bright, orange, high-visibility jackets then man-handled the table onto the hydraulic lift, got it inside the van and then coolly drove off with it.
“It’s pretty obvious that our table was spotted, targeted and then stolen in a well-planned and cunning raid. The wood must weigh in at more than 20 stone (127 kilograms). These guys made it look like they were on some ‘official’ job and those of my neighbours who saw them fell for the trick.”
Wife Julie said: “It’s an utterly unique piece and Mark has worked very hard on it – stripping it, sanding it and oiling it so that it can be the central feature of summer evenings spent in the garden.”
Anyone who has spotted the table or knows anything about its whereabouts can call Hastings Police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.