Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 14:42 UK

Police 'liberate' stolen gnomes

Garden gnome (generic)
The force 'liberated' more than 30 garden gnomes

Police have recovered 30 stolen garden gnomes during a night-time raid which netted more than 160 other garden ornaments.

The items were discovered in three gardens in the Woodburn area of Dalkeith in Midlothian.

Among the ornaments seized were a large wooden elephant and big clay frog.

Lothian and Borders Police said five men and two women questioned about the discovery have been released pending further investigation.

The raid, which involved 18 officers in the early hours of 29 July, followed dozens of complaints from the public about the number of ornaments appearing in the Woodburn gardens.

'No laughing matter'

Police believe the items, which also included strimmers, lawn mowers and 12 deck chairs, may have been taken from homes in Loanhead, Rosewell and Roslin.

They recovered so many garden ornaments, they filled a large double garage.

Detectives are now appealing for the rightful owners to contact them.

Insp John McGill said: "Over the last few months we have had complaints about garden ornaments going missing across Midlothian.

"This might seem like a trivial matter on the face of it but when you are talking about a theft of this magnitude it becomes far more serious.

"It's not a laughing matter for the people who have had property stolen."

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