THIEVES used a rowing boat to steal a statue from the middle of a lake at a National Trust-owned country house.

The 100-year-old statue was stolen from the Old Parsonage, in Buscot, near Faringdon, at the weekend.

Police believe thieves broke into the garden, then used a boat to get to the 30in-high stone figure.

The statue, of the “Old Parson” who once lived at the house, is valued at between £10,000 and £15,000.

Pc Vicki Hopkins said: “It’s likely that the thieves have managed to get to the statue by boat, as some of the reeds have been flattened on the bed next to where the statue was situated on top of a stone wall.

“Given the weight of the statue, approximately 200lb, it would have needed more than one person to be able to lift it.

“This statue is not only of cultural importance, adding to the heritage of the site, but also of great sentimental value. I appeal to anyone who might have seen suspicious behaviour in the area, or know where the statue might be, to contact me.”

A second statue, of the Parson’s wife, was left behind. The Old Parsonage was built in 1709 and sits on the banks of the River Thames. It is closed to visitors for the winter.

Anyone with information should call Pc Hopkins on 08458 505505.