Mystery surrounds the disappearance of two life-sized shepherd figures from the bus stop nativity scene in Raglan on Christmas Eve.

The owner of The Beaufort opposite, who commissioned theatre designer Elizabeth Friendship to create the figures last year, has reported the theft to Gwent Police and is offering a £1,000 reward to anyone who can identify the perpetrators.Pictures have meanwhile been posted on social media of the two shepherds being ’sighted’ as far afield as Niagara Falls and Disneyland.The life-like figures of Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and three shepherds had been joined this year by two sheep. The project was originally financed by Mr Santiago, who at the time lived next to the bus shelter and used his private electricity supply to illuminate the shelter at night.The nativity scene was set up this year on the evening of Friday 20th December.The following night some of the customers at The Beaufort, for a laugh, had ‘transported’ the figures to the hotel bar to join the seasonal celebrations but staff had returned them to the bus shelter the following morning.For several days after that the nativity proved a popular attraction for local residents and visitors alike.But at some point overnight between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day two of the three shepherds were stolen and haven’t been seen since. Elizabeth Friendship said she was mystified at how this had been achieved because the figures are six-foot tall and created on a framework of heavy timber. “It would take more than one person to lift them,” she said.“The most likely explanation is that it was a drunken prank and that they’ve been tossed over a hedge somewhere.“The only solution really is to chain the figures together next year!”Gwent Police say any information about the whereabouts of the missing figures can be reported to police on 101, quoting incident 1900473818.Mr Santiago says the figures went missing between 10pm and 10.15pm.“It’s very strange because there were lots of people in the village at the time, some preparing to attend midnight Mass at St Cadoc’s Church,” he told the Beacon.He said two local residents had reported seeing an estate car driving out of the village towards Monmouth at that time.“If we find the figures, that’s great - although I’ve already been offered funding to get some more made for next year.“What I really want is to find the perpetrators and that’s why I’m offering a reward. If anyone knows who was involved please phone the hotel.“I was upset on Christmas Eve because we’d work led really hard on this. If it’s a prank, it’s a prank but what incenses me and the people of Raglan is to think it might have been pre-meditated. That would be nasty.“I’ll certainly be giving some thought to how we can ensure this can’t happen again next year.”