A MUCH-LOVED missing weasel is now safely back home!

The model of a weasel – which formed part of the popular Malham Safari – disappeared on Monday afternoon.

Its bid for freedom coincided with roadworks being carried out in the village, and there was speculation the cute creation had been “borrowed” as a highways mascot.

This idea gained strength when the weasel – which had been made by a pupil from Skipton Girls’ High School – was spotted on the back of a white lining truck parked outside Skipton Crematorium.

But, following an investigation by North Yorkshire County Council's highways contractors, Ringway, the weasel has been returned.

“Our sub-contractor has made a charitable donation to Malham Safari to make amends, so all is restored,” said a council spokesman.

The Malham Safari event was held during the Bank Holiday and, after it finished, the 'animals' were put into storage at various places around the village.