A charity supporter has been left scratching her head following the disappearance of a giant collection box.
The floor-standing Postman Pat was a familiar sight at the indoor market, where it had stood for at least 20 years.
But some time over the last few months Pat has disappeared without a trace - along with the collection for the NSPCC.
Now Violet Bent, a supporter of the NSPCC, is appealing for readers of the Bexhill Observer to help solve the mystery of the missing box.
She said: “I have been a supporter of the charity NSPCC for years.
“I was secretary of our local NSPCC committee until it sadly folded for lack of support and aged members.
“However we do raise funds whenever we can.
“One of our floor-standing collection boxes, a Postman Pat, which has stood in the Indoor Market in Western Road, Bexhill, for at least 20 years has sadly gone missing.”
Mrs Bent made some enquiries about Pat’s whereabouts - only to discover the errant postman has not been seen for some months.
She said: “Apparently it has not been in its usual place in the market since approximately last Christmas!
“I emptied it last in October 2015 - before I went on a long winter holiday.
“So deciding it was about time I emptied it again, I found it was not there!
“Some of the shopkeepers in the nearby area said that they thought the NSPCC might have taken it away.
“But no, they have not and would inform somebody if they were going to do so.
“So where is Postman Pat?”
Because of the size of the collection box, Mrs Bent says it would have been difficult for anyone to have taken Postman Pat away without being seen.
She said: “He could not have been smuggled out unseen as he is so big.
“The market is only open during trading hours - so it’s a mystery that needs to be solved.
“Do any readers of the Bexhill Observer want to help me find poor old Pat? I do hope so.”
Mrs Bent says she intends to report the incident to the police.
If you have any information about Pat’s whereabouts, please contact the Observer and we will pass your details on to Mrs Bent.
Alternatively, if you have information about a crime which has been committed, please call Sussex Police on 101.
The NSPCC has a similar Postman Pat collection box in Wards, in Devonshire Road (pictured), which Mrs Bent says remains ‘as popular as ever’.