A picnic table, which went missing from Lancing Beach Green last week, made a surprising reappearance when it was spotted floating in the sea in Worthing.
Lancing Parish Council was informed by a member of the community group Keep Lancing Lovely that one of the picnic tables was missing on Thursday afternoon, a spokesman said.
The council office reported the suspected theft of the table to the police.
Councillor Gloria Eveleigh, chairman of Lancing Parish Council, also asked District Enforcement, which runs the car park in Beach Green, to check their CCTV.
She said: “I thought it would have been very difficult for anyone to carry it away on foot because of its weight.”
However on Friday morning, the bench was spotted out at sea floating towards Worthing, she said.
She said she had ‘no clue’ how it had ended up in the water.
Concerned about the danger it might pose to boats, the parish council informed Worthing Borough Council’s Beach Office team, who promised to monitor the situation.
On Monday, the parish council was told the picnic bench had been retrieved ‘in good condition’ and would be transported back to Lancing once a council truck was available, Ms Eveleigh said.
She said: “I know that families have missed it, especially in the current good weather, so we hope it won’t be too long before it is back in place.”
A spokesman from Adur District Council said: “We can confirm that our foreshore team pulled ashore a bench just east of Worthing Pier on Saturday 23rd February at about 2.30pm.
“The bench has now been taken to our depot at Commerce Way in Lancing and will be shortly returned to Lancing Parish Council.”