Whale bones stolen from Seahouses First School have been dumped at the gates of North Sunderland Football Club.
The whale bones are believed to have come from a Greenland right whale, which were once a common sight in whaling ports, and are likely to have been brought back by one of the Berwick whalers sometime during the 1820s to 1830s.
For more than a century, they had formed an arch on the grounds at the first school.
After the school shut, Northumberland County Council had been looking at alternative locations for the bones within Seahouses.
Coun Guy Renner-Thompson said: “The bones are being kept in a secure location for now. The council needs to have the condition assessed to see if they’re able to be erected as they were.
“The bones were cut off at the base and now have some drill holes where they may have been tried to be erected elsewhere. Although the return is welcome, the damage is irreversible.”
Anyone with information should call the police on 101.