AN HISTORIC red telephone box set for a refurbishment by a community farm helping vulnerable adults has been stolen from an East Dorset village.

Villagers in Holtwood were shocked to find their much-loved telephone box outside the Holtwood Methodist Church went missing.

Bournemouth Echo: The remains of the missing phone box in Holtwood

Carol Frampton, 71, of the church, said: “The telephone box has always been part of the village and it has been central in wedding photos, we have painted it occasionally just to make it look nice.

“It has suddenly gone, there’s a hole there, I cannot believe it has happened.

“This is so sad. We’re hoping someone might know something about it. It has always been there, now there is a big gaping hole.

“It’s so sad to think, in this day and age, something like this can happen.”

The box was taken over by the parish council earlier this year as part of the adopt a kiosk scheme where the redundant boxes were offered by BT to authorities for £1.

It was set to be repainted by the Holtwood Community Farm, a farm for vulnerable adults, and used to store books and jigsaws for the villagers.

Bournemouth Echo: The remains of the missing phone box in Holtwood

Josh Pritchard, manager at the farm, said it was “very frustrating” for the community.

“We were queued up to start on it,” he said. “We drove past it and noticed it had gone. Initially we thought it must be something official.

“I sent an email to the parish council, and they said they didn’t know anything about it.

“I don’t know much about the incident, but they are worth a bit of money.

“If it has been stolen it’s very frustrating for the community. There’s only three things in the village, to lose the phone box, especially as it was about to be reincarnated, it is a real shame.”

Bournemouth Echo: Streetview of the telephone box in Holtwood before it was stolen

All that’s left at the site of the box is a wire now sticking out the ground next to the village notice board.

Cllr Andrew Wilson, of Holt Parish Council, said: “It’s really frustrating. The community farm were going to repaint it, put some jigsaws and books in there, whether we can replace it I don’t know.

“We will have to discuss it, there could then be the ongoing risk of it happening again, we will have to discuss it at the next meeting.”

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: “Dorset Police received a report at 5.23pm on Thursday, November 18, that a redundant phone box had been stolen in Holtwood in Wimborne.

“It was reported that the incident occurred at around 1pm that day.

“Officers have carried out enquiries and no arrests have been made.”

BT confirmed they had not removed the phone box.