A clay owl which has stood on the roof of a Maidenhead art shop for decades has been stolen.
The finial above Bovilles is said to date from the 1800s, made using clay from the Pinkneys Green Brick Kiln.
Operated by the Maidenhead Brick and Tile company, the kilns were still in use until the middle of the 20th century, and police say the owl has 'real, heritage local value'.
Shop manager Marie-Anne Leonard said that the owl was stolen from the roof of the building sometime between Friday and Monday last week.
She said the thief must have been 'very agile', and thinks that whoever stole it must have clambered over from the back as they 'left a trail of debris behind'.
"There’s six of us who work at the shop and we’re like a family. We work together, socialise together, and the shop is like a second home to us," she added.
"It’s left us very hurt and angry, and we’ve taken the tragic theft quite personally."
It is the latest in a series of setbacks to the small business, which recently had lead stolen from the roof.
Initial estimates for work to replace the lead stand at around £5,000, which the mum-of-one said will not be covered by the shop’s insurance.
In June, the Louis Baylis (Maidenhead Advertiser) Charitable Trust gave an emergency grant of £1,000 to replace panels stolen from the shop belonging to Art On The Street.
After the High Street shop was alerted to the missing owl by customers, a statement made via its Facebook page said: "We're feeling incredibly sad. If you know anything about its disappearance, please please please get in touch.
"It won’t have been destroyed, it’s too beautiful and distinctive a piece."
Marie-Anne added that she is 'holding out hope' that someone will have bought it in good faith, and that it can be returned.
Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Top Ten Articles
The Met Office has issued a yellow alert for Windsor and Maidenhead, Slough and Wokingham, warning that rain moving eastwards across the south of the country may turn to snow in some places.