When the beast went missing at the same event on a previous occasion, it turned up in the possession of locally-based Mad Jacks Morris.
Dancer Gordon Potts also suggested The Earls Of Essex morris team may have had a hand in the disappearance of an earlier beast, which has not been seen for some years.
Now Keith Leech, organiser of the Jack In The Green event, has hotly denied complicity in beast-rustling.
"As a member of Mad Jacks and the Earls of Essex and a resident of Hastings I can honestly say I have not seen said animal," he said. "I am deeply hurt to hear we have been implicated.
"However there is rumour of a strange black beast haunting the woodland around Battle, killing pigs and mistreating women, and drinking too much Harveys Ale. I wonder if it fell off the train on the way back?
"We certainly don't want it around here again. No mare was safe, and the piles of large brown sweet-smelling tennis balls all over the pub floor were a disgrace. The sooner this thing goes back to the hell-hole near Shepherds Bush from whence it came, the better! "
Link: Hammersmith Horse Off, Horror
Hastings Jack in the Green
©1999 Simon Pipe, Mark Rogers, The Outside Capering Crew