A Wrexham family was shocked to find an item was stolen from their annual Halloween display which raises funds for charity.

For the last 11 years Paula and Dave Pritchard, of Salop Road, Hightown, and Paula’s mum and dad Pauline and Ray Evans, who live next door, aim to create the spookiest house in Wrexham for Halloween.

They set up scary displays outside their homes for trick-or-treaters and passers-by which attracts hundreds of visitors each year.

VIDEO: Is this the spookiest Halloween house? Wrexham family pull out all the stops again

Last year, they raised more than £1,000 for the town’s Nightingale House Hospice and donated food to the Ty Nos shelter.

and donated food to the Ty Nos shelter.

The Penny Wise mask, from the film It, stolen from Paula Pritchard's front garden on Salop Road, Hightown

They are hoping for even more donations this year.

The family has already started planning and putting together their exhibits ready for October 30 but Paula was devastated to find a mask of the character Penny Wise from the film It was taken from outside her home on Tuesday, October 2, between 9pm and 9.30pm. The mask, imported from America, cost Paula £40.

She posted what had happened on Facebook to try to get people to help her retrieve the mask and spread the word about what had happened.

Paula, a nurse at Nightingale House, said: “I needed it to recreate a scene from the film It for the garden as I want to do classic horror figures this year.

“I wanted the theft shared on social media as I wanted people to be aware that we do all this for charity, Nightingale House Hospice, and for our local community and kids – and big kids love it.

“I was reluctant to put out my large very expensive props in case it happened again – which so far it hasn't.

“The Wrexham community have always been fantastic  and always so very generous, so we are hoping it is a one-off incident. 

“If the person who stole the mask reads this I’d urge them to return it as it is very much needed for my Halloween garden scene. If they wanted a clown mask, I’m happy to give them a cheaper one in return for the imported version.”

Paula said she feels “really let down” that someone would go into her garden and take something which is being used to create an event for a good cause.

Speaking to the Leader, her mum Pauline added: “What we do every year is a community thing. It benefits the community as well as the charity. I know people will think why are we bothered as it’s only a mask but that doesn’t matter.

“This is for charity so please leave the stuff alone that we’re using for Halloween.

“We started doing this for charity because so many people were coming to see it and we thought we could raise a lot for Nightingale House Hospice. We spend a lot of our own money on this.

“It has never happened before. Like my daughter said, Wrexham gets a bad name a lot but we don’t normally have any trouble and this is such a shame.”

The family hopes whoever has stolen the mask will return it to Paula’s garden.

Despite the bad news they received this week, they are looking forward to their 11th Halloween community fundraising event, on October 30 from 5pm until 10pm, which this year takes place on the car park on Salop Road, owned by Gower Homes.

There will be a prize draw which includes an overnight stay at a Chester hotel and gift sets. Attractions also include spooky performances from live actors, a “scary slaughter house”, a creepy cafe and stalls.