Like all unexplained deaths with a link to arson the police response was quick, decisive and thorough.
Gillian and Mick Berry were shocked to discover a family member – a scarecrow called Cyril – had perished in a fire.
Cyril’s home was Teston Garden Allotments, just off the Tonbridge Road.
The couple, who live in the village, created six-foot Cyril several years ago to guard their vegetable patch.
Sadly he was discovered last week burnt to a cinder and lying in a heap of ashes - believed to be the victim of vandals.
The rubber mask, which had been the basis of his face was reduced to a blob and his track suit and foam-filled trousers were just a memory.
Mr and Mrs Berry took advice and it was suggested they report the incident to police as criminal damage. The couple were later visited by two officers in a patrol car who took details.
“Some of their questions were very touching,” said Mrs Berry, “I guess it was part of recording the victim experience.
“One was: ‘how did this affect you?’ To which we replied, tongue in cheek: ‘devastating’.
“Another question was: ‘did we feel invaded?’ And we said ‘not really’.”
“We’re planning to have a Cyril senior and he’ll look even more uglier” - Gillian Berry
There are around 30 plots on Teston allotments, enclosed by high fencing. Each has its own gate.
“We sensed something was wrong as we approached,” said Mrs Berry.
“All the allotment gates were open and some of the tool boxes, but nothing appeared to be taken apart from a petrol can used for the communal mower.
"We suspect they used the petrol to burn Cyril.”
A police spokesman said: “We were called to a report of a fire at an allotment off Tonbridge Road, Maidstone, which is believed to have occurred on April 19.
“The incident was recorded as arson, but no suspects have been identified.”
But it’s not the end as far as Mr and Mrs Berry are concerned.
“We’re planning to have a Cyril senior and he’ll look even more uglier.”