METAL thieves have ruined the fun for children visiting Britain’s only crocodile farm.

It would have taken six or eight men to lift the 16ft long by four ft wide bronze crocodile that farmer Andy Johnson bought in July in the early hours of Wednesday morning last week, Mr Johnson, whose Church Farm at Old Hurst has been in the family for generations, told The Hunts Post.

"It was one of only five made by Paris Bronze before they broke the mould. I paid £4,000 for it, but it would cost £6,000 to replace. All the kids sat on it to have their photographs taken. It was very popular.

"They also took another bronze of two pixies jumping over a toadstool, worth £300," he added.

But whoever took the bronzes - and Mr Johnson has a fair idea who was responsible - had better not go near Church Farm again - except to return the items.

"I would like to catch them and throw them in with the real ones," he said.

Mr Johnson believed the bronzes had been in a secure area between the tea room and the crocodile house. They were about to be moved to an even more secure area under the gaze of the farm's security cameras.

But the thieves struck at around 12.30 on Wednesday, December 7, while he was out shooting a fox.

PC Simon Page, from Cambridgeshire police's rural community action team, said: "The bronze crocodile statue is extremely rare and worth several thousand pounds. It would have taken several people due to its weight and size.

"I urge anyone who saw anything suspicious or is offered the statues for sale to contact police."

CONTACT: Anyone with information should call PC Page on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.