Ancient whale bones which stood in the grounds of a Seahouses school for almost 100 years are believed to have been stolen.
The disappearance came to light after a Northumberland County Council surveyor arranged to meet a specialist removal company for a feasibility study to be carried out in order to relocate the whale bones from the former Seahouses First School site.
As the surveyor went to take some photos of the bones, she found they had gone and all inquiries into their whereabouts have so far drawn a blank.
The bones are believed to be those of a Greenland right whale, once a common sight in whaling ports, and are likely to have been brought back by one of the Berwick whalers sometime during 1820 to 1830s.
They are unique, having been erected upside down, and the tips will show evidence of being buried. There were also metal plates on the flat tops.
The bones represent an important reminder of the maritime heritage of the North East and are increasingly rare, so their preservation is vital.
They lay in a farm barn in North Sunderland for many years before being erected at Seahouses First School in the early 1930s.
Northumbria Police have been informed and anyone with information should call 101, quoting the incident number of 345 19/12/2018 or the crime number 167945G/18.