STONE the crows, there’s some odd-looking strangers springing up in these parts.
Nurses, girl guides and policemen can now be spotted congregating in Easington Village.
But these new residents aren’t going to arrest you, or even take your temperature.
No, they are just the latest additions to the village’s first scarecrow competition.
The idea for the competition was the brainchild of 17-year-old Alice Morton, in a bid to inject some fun and colour into the place.
A former Easington Academy pupil, Alice is a keen supporter of the village community, including being a Girl Guide Ranger and a member of the Easington Village In Bloom committee.
She said: “There are lots of places which have scarecrow festivals now and I just thought we should have one, especially with us being an old farming village.
“I thought it would be nice to put a bit of colour into the village.”
Alice, an A-level student at Durham Gilesgate Sixth Form, said she did a lot of research, asking people what they thought of the idea, before approaching Easington Village Parish Council and being given the go-ahead.
The teenager, who lives with her family in Seaside Lane, said: “The response has been really positive, lots of people have said they will be taking part.”
Among those getting involved will be the congregation at St Mary’s Church and the children at Easington Village CE Primary School, who will get straight on to work with their scarecrows when they return from the summer holidays.
And, the residents who live in Hopper Street, which can be seen from the main road, will all be displaying their creations, The Happy Hoppers.
Meanwhile, Alice is busy working on the scarecrows for her own front garden, a Girl Guide Ranger and a nurse.
Everyone is being urged to join in the fun by displaying their scarecrows between September 1 and 15.
There will be prizes including ones for the best theme, most comical and show stopper scarecrows. Judging will take place on Saturday, September 14.
Those who want to enter their scarecrow into the competition should email Alice with their name and address before Friday, September 13, via email@example.com.
SCARECROWS were first used to discourage birds from feeding on seed.
l Crows gather nightly in groups of 20 to 30, returning to the same place each night.
l The 1881 Household Cyclopedia advised: Machinery of various kinds to be put in motion by the wind are often employed to frighten crows but when they become familiar they cease to be of any use.
l South Americans used to use a dead cow hung upside down from a pole to keep the birds away.
l The scarecrow was commonly used in 19th century English literature. Worzel Gummidge first appeared in a series of novels by Barbara Euphan Todd in the 1930s.
l The scarecrow who wanted a brain was one of the stars of the Wizard of Oz.
l One of the largest scarecrow festivals in Britain is held annually at Belbroughton, in Worcestershire, on September 23 and 24.