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Last Updated: Friday, 30 April, 2004, 18:31 GMT 19:31 UK
Police warn over naughty gnomes
Tony Watson and gnomes
Tony has added a touch of modesty to his naughty gnomes
A "mooning" male gnome and his bikini-clad female companion have sparked uproar in South Yorkshire.

The police have warned gnome owner and former army sergeant Tony Watson, 41, of Doncaster Road, Barnsley, he could face arrest.

South Yorkshire Police said complaints from passers-by had to be taken seriously, particularly as there was a primary school nearby.

But Mr Watson says those who are offended should not look at his garden.

His collection of gnomes included a male flasher, one peeing in a bucket, another mooning, a fully exposed woman and another revealing her breasts.

However, to avoid arrest he has painted knickers and a bra on one of the female gnomes and underpants on a male gnome.

Divorced father-of-two Mr Watson, who served in the Duke of Wellington's Regiment for 22 years, said: "The policeman said they would arrest me unless they were moved and I would have to explain to a court why I have these gnomes in my front garden.

"I was told the gnomes would be taken away there and then. He even turned up with a van to take them away.

"The officer said they had received a complaint under the Public Order Act which basically accused me of indecency.

I bought the gnomes because they reflect my character and personality
Gnome owner Tony Watson

"Rather than lose them I put the gnomes round the back and got a paintbrush out, touched them up and put them back on display in the front garden.

"I can't believe it. I have had buses pull up in front of the house and everybody who sees the gnomes creases up laughing.

"I bought the gnomes because they reflect my character and personality. I just saw them and wanted them for a laugh."

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said they had received a number of complaints about the gnomes.

"Officers visited the man several weeks ago and warned him that we had received complaints," he said.

"However he did not take any action and officers revisited him on Sunday following a further complaint. "

Mr Watson was told to remove the gnomes or he would be arrested under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 which states that it is an offence to display something that is insulting or likely to cause distress, harassment or alarm.

He was not arrested because he took appropriate action, police added.

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