THIEVES have been condemned for stealing festive decorations from outside a family’s home.

A 4ft snowman has been a festive fixture at Castle Point councillor Neville Watson’s house, in Eastways, Canvey, for years.

But the snowman, affectionately named Wilfred, and a model reindeer, have been stolen.

Mr Watson said the ornaments were still there when he arrived home on Thursday at 3am after working a night shift, but when he woke up they had disappeared.

He said: “I couldn’t believe it. My first reaction was it must be some kind of joke, but when I saw the wires had been clean cut I realised they’d gone.

“We’ve had it for years – it was like an old friend. I had filled it with stones and pebbles and I imagine it would have weighed about 12st.

“I put them up for my grandchildren really. If anyone has seen Wilfred, I would like him back.”

Mr Watson, who is a member of the Canvey Island Indepen-dent Party, said he had heard of three other homes having their decorations stolen recently.

He added: “They got up on the garage of another resident and stole three different ones. It will more than likely be re-sold.

“They are just opportunist thieves.

“Some of these decorations cost a lot of money and they know that.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Obviously it is disappointing in the season of goodwill that anyone should steal displays of decorations essentially put out for the enjoyment of others.

“Fortunately, it is not a widespread occurrence, but residents should nevertheless think about securing these decorations to any heavy or immovable objects, wherever possible.”

Anyone with information about the thefts should call Canvey police station on 0300 3334444.