A BABY Jesus, Mary and four other figures have been stolen from a town’s centrepiece nativity display.

The ‘diabolical’ and ‘utterly disrespectful’ theft has left community leaders in Clitheroe ‘appalled’.

They are so demoralised that they are even considering axeing the nativity scene in future.

The 2ft tall plaster cast figures, worth £2,500, were stolen from outside Clitheroe Castle.

As well as Jesus and Mary, a shepherd, donkey, sheep and angel, were taken.

CCTV captured two men in their 30s around the display at 3.45am on Boxing Day.

Police are appealing for anyone with infor-mation to come forward.

Mayor of the town, Coun Mary Robinson, said: “It is beyond belief and utterly disrespectful. I am really appalled.

“This has gone beyond a practical joke because the figures will cost a fortune to replace.

"Whoever has done this should be ashamed of themselves.

"They’ve ruined it for everybody else in the town.”

Last year the Baby Jesus figure was stolen twice, and the wise men and donkey figures were attacked by vandals.

Three years ago, the Jesus figure was recovered in Warrington after being taken.

After the latest attack, the town council, which funds the nativity, is now considering its future.

Coun Robinson, said: “Perhaps this, and the damage in previous years, is an indication that people do not want a nativity.

"This is something that will be at the top of the agenda at the next town council meeting.”

Michael Ranson, leader of Ribble Valley Council, urged people to contact police with information.

He said: “It is diabolical and appalling. There are some very sick people out there”

Inspector Chris Saville, of Clitheroe Police, said they believed the men on the CCTV may have been involved in the theft.

He said: “The figures will cost a considerable amount to replace and we are very disappointed that someone would do such a thing, especially to something that has brought a huge amount of pleasure to many local people.”

Call police on 08451 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.