Mystery surrounds a plaque commemorating four soldiers who died during World War I, which was found underneath a bin on a beach.
The plaque was found underneath a bulk rubbish bin
It was found two weeks ago by cleaners at Mudeford Sandbank in Christchurch.
The message indicates that it was once on display in a church but police have no record of any plaque being stolen.
The memorial names four men who "made the supreme sacrifice" as Walter H Dyke, William J Gillingham, James C Hall and Edward C Elliott.
It also commemorates "thirty one young men associated with this church" who "joined the colours".
Enquiries made with the United Kingdom National Inventory of War Memorials found that three of the names of the dead soldiers have connections with Branksome in Poole.
Chris Horn, from Christchurch Borough Council, said it was "a real mystery".
He said: "Why would anyone dump a plaque like this at Mudeford Sandbank?
"It's possible that it was removed from a church that was being demolished or converted some time ago or possibly replaced by a combined World War I and II plaque.
"Maybe someone found it being thrown away and decided to use it to prop up a beach hut or something similar."