ARSONISTS reduced a supersized scarecrow to a pile of ash after it was deliberately set on fire twice in one night.

The 20ft scarecrow, which had been a "huge talking point" when it was put up at Barleylands Farm in Billericay last week, was constructed by Dave Finkle, farm park manager, and three other workers to tie in with a scarecrow making competition during half term.

But it has now been reduced to cinders leaving staff and children devastated.

Mr Finkle said: “Whoever it was was determined to finish the job. There was nothing left and the pole it was attached to was blackened.

“As adults we are disappointed but we are resilient, it’s the children I feel sorry for, it’s ruined their fun.

“It generated some great entertainment and it’s just a desperate shame something fun and interesting has been vandalised and ruined.”

Fire crews were called to the farm twice, first at about 11.30pm and then again just after midnight last Thursday, February 21.

It had taken staff half a day to get it into position using a forklift truck and mini digger and was made using half a dozen shirts, 20 metres of hessian, ten bales of straw and a telegraph pole.

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman confirmed both fires were started deliberately and police are investigating.

Any witnesses or anyone with information can contact Essex Police on 101.