Page last updated at 11:14 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 12:14 UK

'Itchy feet' gnome returns home

Eve Stuart-Kelso with Murphy: Photo by Daniel Martino/PA Wire
Mrs Stuart-Kelso said Murphy's return was a wonderful surprise

A snatched garden gnome has been returned to his owner with a photo album picturing him in 12 countries he had visited with his kidnapper.

Eve Stuart-Kelso said she was stunned to see her leprechaun Murphy standing outside her Gloucester home seven months after he disappeared.

He was also carrying a note putting his world tour down to "itchy feet".

The album shows Murphy abseiling down a mountain, standing in a shark's mouth and riding a motorbike.

Some of the pictures show a group of mysterious young men, who could be the ones responsible for the globetrotting stunt.

Also with Murphy were immigration stamps for all the shores he had been taken to visit - South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong and Laos.

There's more to life than watching daily commuter traffic
An extract from Murphy's letter

The gnome, whose "travelling companion" is referred to only as The Bear, said he attracted unwanted attention from customs officials and took up 25% of the party's luggage allocation.

"There's more to life than watching daily commuter traffic and allowing passing cats to urinate on you," the letter said.

The bizarre crime echoes the French film Amelie starring Audrey Tautou in which a gnome belonging to Amelie's father is taken around the world and photographed to show him how much he is missing out on in life.

Grandmother-of-three Mrs Stuart-Kelso said: "The leprechaun went missing many, many months ago and I had forgotten about it.

Murphy the gnome in Thailand: Photo courtesy of PA Wires
Murphy was photographed in 12 countries including Thailand

"Then I opened the door on Thursday and saw he was back. It was such a shock.

"I thought, 'Well, it's a bit of mischief but at least he hasn't been put through the window.'

She said the gnome had been quite badly damaged and although she wondered if the tightly wrapped parcel next to him might explode, her curiosity eventually overcame her alarm.

"Then I saw it was a beautifully bound photo album and opened it up," she said.

"His feet were missing, but that's no real surprise given that he was sent abseiling down a mountain.

"It was the strangest gift I have ever received.

"I just keep thinking how funny it is. It makes me smile to see all the people he met on his travels. It was a wonderful surprise and of course it's so nice to get some good news."

A Gloucestershire police spokeswoman said there had been no report of a gnome going missing but said: "Any theft of a person's property, even if it is carried out as a joke, will be treated as a crime by police.

"What may seem like a laugh to one person can cause distress to another."




SEE ALSO
Garden gnomes hid smuggled snakes
19 Jun 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Gnome 'kidnapper' avoids prison
19 Apr 07 |  Tayside and Central

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