VISITORS to a picturesque village could be forgiven for doing a double-take when spotting new residents out and about.
The first Easington Village Scarecrow Competition proved a huge success, with more than 40 entrants from residents and schoolchildren.
And organisers say the scarecrows were so realistic, some villagers reported the entries to police – fearing they were suspicious characters up to no good.
Teenager Alice Morton came up with the idea of running and organising the event, and was thrilled with the response and quality of the entries.
She said police had several phone calls about strange people hanging around the village.
The 17-year-old former Easington Academy pupil said: “I was very worried no-one would enter, but it was really, really good and lots of people have already been saying what they have in mind for next year.
“I am really chuffed because it was all about getting the community together and it has done that, people have been saying it is lovely to see such community spirit and have loved seeing the scarecrows.
Alice, an A-level student at Durham Gilesgate Sixth Form, added: “I think there will be a lot more next year. Some people said they ran out of time to get their scarecrow built.”
The winners were announced at a cream tea event in Seaton Holme, the headquarters of Easington Village Parish Council, where trophies, funded by a donation from Groundwork North East, were presented to the winners.
A Willy Wonka scarecrow built by Diane Kelly in her Tudor Grove garden won the prize for best comedy entry, The Happy Hoppers, four child scarecrows dancing around a maypole, by the residents of the aged miners’ bungalows in Hopper Street, won the show-stopper category and The Canny Scot, by the Watt family in Loaning Burn, won the best themed entry.
There were also lots of fun certificates given out – such as Best Use of a Post Box for the Postman Pat and Jess the Cat entry.
Alice’s proud dad, Councillor Len Morton, a member of Easington Village Parish Council, said: “The turnout of entries absolutely shocked me.
“It’s the biggest thing people have been talking about for years in the village – the enthusiasm was tremendous.
“All we have heard from residents is that it will be even better next year.”