A modern day mystery has confounded the residents of a small village in East Barnet where a popular public bench has disappeared without explanation.

Councillors and residents’ association members were left scratching their heads after the public seat at the corner of Beresford Avenue and Russell Lane vanished overnight.

Complaints of alcohol related anti-social behaviour had prompted council officers to propose the bench’s removal in October, but the option was dismissed by local councillor Andreas Tambourides and members of the East Barnet Residents’ Association.

Just weeks later however, the bench was gone, and as of this week, residents and councillors remained none the wiser as to its whereabouts.

Barnet Council said it is looking into the disappearance, but Conservative Councillor Tambourides says he specifically asked council officers to leave the bench in place.

He said: “It is a total mystery – I don’t understand it. I was speaking to the safer neighbourhood policing teams and I had asked the council to wait and see what they said about the issue.

“I have been looking into it but I’m running out of possibilities as to its whereabouts – we don’t know who is behind it.”

East Barnet Residents’ Association said the bench was a valuable facility for the elderly and disabled and made a public plea for information at its most recent meeting last week.

The association had previously called for more police patrols in the area to deal with unruly behaviour and insisted local residents must be warned of any proposals to remove the bench.

Chairman Dan Hope said: “Removing the bench was never going to be a magic solution – people would just sit on the wall behind.

“No-one seems to know where it has gone. Maybe it was stolen, maybe it was aliens, or maybe the council has just whipped it away without telling anyone - who knows.”