MYSTERY surrounds a pair of events which took place at Malvern's Theatre of Small Convenience overnight on New Year's Eve.

When Dennis Neale, who manages the Edith Walk theatre, arrived on New Year's Day he was surprised to find a host of tiny, white figures had been left on the venue's doorstep by an unknown benefactor.

But his pleasure at the discovery was quickly soured when he noticed a panel of community artwork displayed outside the theatre had been badly damaged.

"I was just saddened really," said Mr Neale, who has reported the damage to the police. "I do not know why someone would have a malicious intent to the theatre."

More than 100 pieces of brightly coloured artwork are displayed on 6ft high trellis panels outside the theatre, many created by children from around Malvern.

Mr Neale said: "The whole panel has come out. They must have given it a hefty kick because it broke part of the trellis and two tiles have come off. It just looks a bit strange.

"The trellis is there to brighten the community, to decorate an area of the community that was really a mess, it makes it attractive."

It is thought the damage was caused between 10pm on Thursday, December 31 and 9am on Friday, January 1 and police are asking for anyone who has information about the incident to report it to police on 101 using crime reference number 104s of January 2.

The puzzling gift of between 20 and 30 clay figures has been more warmly welcomed by Mr Neale, who says the display reminded him of an installation titled 'Field' by artist Antony Gormley.

He said: "I saw that first, I drove past and I thought: 'What on earth is that?'

"They are little clay figures about an inch and a half high with two little dots in the top for their eyes.

"I do not know what the person intended. I think it is just people being creative around the theatre, which is quite nice."

Some of the figures have been moved out of the way of the theatre's entrance.

Mr Neale added that he would repair the broken trellis, which has been in place for around five years.

The theatre, which is situated in an old Victorian toilet, has been running for 16 years showing a variety of performances including puppetry, music and poetry.

It previously featured in the 2002 Guinness World Book of Records as the world's smallest theatre.

Although the theatre is currently closed, it will reopen early in the Spring.