A 3-metre sign weighing close to 400 kilograms has disappeared from the side of the road in Marlborough.
The $3000 sign, advertising a popular Havelock waterhole, mysteriously vanished overnight after the town celebrated its biggest weekend of the year, the Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival.
It mysteriously vanished as the sign was concreted into the ground, leaving Slip Inn Cafe general manager Cieran Thomas upset, but quietly impressed.
The festival happened to fall on St Patrick’s Day, March 17, this year.
Thomas noticed the sign missing on March 18.
“It’s not a small sign. It’s 10 feet [3m] high and it took three of us to walk it up, so it was standing,” Thomas said.
“It’s made from steel bars, which were weighed in around 10 kilograms per 30 centimetres, so the whole thing is between 300kg to 400kg all up, at the very least.”
The sign’s weight and fenced location at the Marlborough Road Reserves Corner, beside State Highway 63, suggested vehicles were involved, Thomas said.
“A crane truck or [a] tractor with a pallet fork extension would be some of the few vehicles that could have reached over the fence and removed the sign from the concrete it was sitting in,” he said.
Thomas believed the sign was removed at night, or early in the morning, so highway motorists didn’t catch the culprits in action.
“There’s no way the sign was removed during the day, especially over such a busy weekend.
“Someone would have stopped them.”
Slip Inn Cafe owners Richard and Chrissie Wright said they had reported the incident to Havelock police.
Chrissie Wright said the farmer, who farmed the land the sign was on, had noticed wheel marks across his land leading to the sign.