There's no place like gnome
Published 09/02/2010 | 17:34
A mystery thief who stole a treasured gnome from a garden 13 years ago has finally apologised and provided a replacement, the gnome's owners said.
Denis and Doris Heard lost the gnome from their garden in Leeds in 1996 and were later teased when they received a postcard from the little chap, who was apparently in Devon.
Now, after more than a decade, the gnome-napper has given in to his conscience and left a letter of apology along with a replacement.
The anonymous thief said he and a friend took the memento as a Mischief Night prank.
He said in the note: "Since growing up and having a garden of my own that I cherish and care for, I feel really bad about taking something from you and your garden.
"I hope you will accept my apologies and a replacement gnome! Kind wishes."
Keen gardener Mr Heard, 78, said he and his wife had given up hope of ever hearing about their gnome again.
He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "There was a parcel on the doorstep. We opened it and it was a gnome with a rake - very like the one that went missing.
"We'd just like to say 'thank you' to whoever it was for returning the gnome."
Mr and Mrs Heard's gnome went missing during a nationwide spate of gnome mysteries in the mid 1990s when a series of them disappeared only to later bombard their owners with messages from around the world.