A GIANT bear costume used as the mascot for Circus Wonderland’s show in Peacehaven has been stolen.
Bertie the Bear even features on the programme but his disappearance on Wednesday night (August 1) meant disappointed children were asking where he was.
Circus director Paul Carpenter, who plays Popol the Clown, said the theft of the six foot bear outfit has left them devastated.
Paul said: “We are desperate to get Bertie back. We are absolutely devastated because he played such a big part in our show.
“Just before the show started we realised that our Bertie the Bear costume character outfit had been taken from our changing room trailer in the back of the tent.
“Bertie is the mascot or figurehead of our show, he appears throughout the performance and we use him for photographs with the children in the interval.”
The costume was made especially for the show and is worth £1,400.
It consists of a fur body suit with fitted hoops to give it a round shape, furry boots, a red and gold military style jacket and the bear’s head.
Sadly it will take three or four months to have another one made, so Circus Wonderland is appealing for whoever took the bear costume to return it.
Paul added: “We had to quickly rearrange the show to do it without Bertie, but it is not the same without him.
“Children are asking where he is, and it will take months to get a new one made.
“I know it is only a costume, but it actually feels like a person has gone missing because he was such an important part of our show and we are so used to him being there.”
The circus was first alerted something was wrong when local residents complained their cars had been sprayed in a white powder.
Paul said: “This turned out to be from a fire extinguisher that had been removed from its case on the side of our generator.
“Later when getting ready for our matinee, we discovered that our catering trailer had been broken into, various items such as cans of drink, a kettle, ketchup bottles and coffee had gone.”
They then discovered that Bertie the Bear’s costume was missing too.
Paul and Kriss Freear (aka clowns Kakehole and Popol) have appeared regularly in the Peacehaven as part of John Lawson’s Circus.
This year they took a big step and launched their own show, but rising costs, problems with bad weather and competition from other events have all been taking their toll.
“We knew it would be a risk to start a new show in the current financial climate,” explained Paul.
“People do not seem to have much spare cash, and they are always looking for special offers and bargains, but of course we have to charge a certain amount as our running costs are enormous.”
Sussex Police said the circus reported the break in on Thursday afternoon (August 2).
Circus Wonderland will be at The Dell in Peacehaven until Sunday August 5 but will then move to Adur Recreation Ground in Shoreham for two weeks from August 6 - 19.
Police are investigating and anyone with information is asked to call Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 1058 of 02/08.
To get in touch with email@example.com or Paul Carpenter on 07932 655264.