A couple has been left baffled after six garden gnomes mysteriously appeared in their front garden without any explanation.
Christine and Stephen Lock, who are the Mayoress and Mayor of South Molton Town Council in Devon, said in the last 18 months six of the friendly-faced ornaments have turned up on their lawn in the middle of the night.
Mrs Lock said while the gnomes do ‘bring a smile’ to her face she is determined to find out who is planting the creatures and fears she might end up with a ‘whole garden of gnomes’.
Christine Lock, who is Mayoress of South Molton Town Council, has grown to love the mysterious gnomes that have turned up in her garden. Since February 201 six of the statues have been planted around her home.
She said: ‘I just remember coming home one day and didn’t take much notice.
‘I just thought, “Oh well, someone got rid of a gnome and didn’t know where to put it”.
‘So I left it in the garden, but shortly after another came along.
‘I posted on Facebook to say thank you to the person delivering these little creatures to our home – implying that if they wanted them back, they were more than welcome to come and collet them – but nobody ever has.’
The pair believe that someone is creeping into the garden at night time to place the statues that started appearing in February last year.
Mrs Lock thought the gnomes ‘looked lonely’ so bought an ‘ornamental house’ for them to ‘socialise’ in.
Despite asking neighbours and posting an appeal on Facebook, the pensioners said they are no closer to solving the peculiar puzzle.
Mrs Lock added: ‘They seem to be being placed outside overnight and I haven’t got a clue who is doing it, not a clue.
‘Everybody I’ve asked has denied it – family, friends, neighbours – it’s very bizarre.’
Prior to the sporadic appearance of the mythological creatures, the couple only had one small gnome by their fishpond.
Despite the new additions taking up space in their garden, Mrs Lock said she has grown to love them and even bought them a new home.
She said: ‘They are nice and look pretty, but I am worried I’ll wake up one morning and the garden will be covered.
‘When I received a circle of about six gnomes in the collection – about an inch and a half high – sitting around a fire, I thought it looked odd because they were so small.
’They looked lonely, so I did bought a little ornamental house for them in the shape of a cabbage to socialise in.’
Two of the friendly faces found in the couple’s garden. The Pride gnome (left) turned up while the Mayor and Mayoress were attending the Pride Festival in the Isle of Wight.
The latest addition to the collection was a Pride gnome delivered around three weeks ago – by some coincidence, it was the day after the couple had attended Pride festival in the Isle of Wight.
Mr Lock said: ‘It was quite funny because we had been to the Isle of Wight and there was a Pride Festival over the weekend.
‘We came home and found the Pride gnome, thinking “who knew we were there?”
‘It’s quite interesting to come out in the morning sometimes, spot a new gnome and just have no clue where these things are from.
Mrs Lock accused her husband of the prank but he said he was ‘far too tight to buy gnomes’. The mystery remains unsolved despite a social media appeal.
‘Christine accused me of putting them there, but I’m far too tight to buy gnomes.’
A fishing and dancing gnome are also part of the ever-growing collection.
The mayoress added: ‘It does bring a smile to my face but I’m not sure whether I want a whole garden full of gnomes.
‘I might start hiding them in or behind the plant pots and the person will have to guess where they are – it would be funny to see their face.’