Residents against proposals to build a secondary school on Green belt land in Harpenden are urging for information after their two large campaign banners were stolen last night.

The vinyl banners were recently unfurled by children and families as part of the Right School Right Place campaign, who are "horrified" at Hertfordshire County Council plans to build a 1,500 to 2,000 pupil secondary school on a site adjacent to Lower Luton Road.

They were paid for by residents and noticed missing early this morning by commuters.

They were located on each side of Lower Luton Road. One was near the roundabout at the end of Common Lane and the other was slightly towards Wheathampstead on the other side of the road.

David Cairns, chair of Right School Right Place, said: "The whole episode has left locals wondering to what lengths people are prepared to go to try and prevent a proper evaluation of suitable sites.

"The banners were firmly fixed to private property, with owners’ permission, so we can’t help but think that it was a deliberate action to prevent local voices being heard.

“This is a vivid demonstration of how some elements of the community are keen to suppress freedom of speech when it conflicts with their own personal agenda.

"We have notified the police of this loss from private property and are treating it as theft. Those involved should be ashamed of their actions.

"Employing strong-arm tactics against those who rightly question the logic behind this choice of site, brings them into disrepute and is against the law.”

The group has reported the incident to the police and is urging residents to come forward if they have information.