The Laurel and Hardy statues were recovered nearly a year after the theft

The Laurel and Hardy statues were recovered nearly a year after the theft

The Laurel and Hardy statues were recovered nearly a year after the theft

Sergeant Richard Ruane and PCSO Natalie Parrott with Laurel and Hardy statues (Lesley Haylett / PA)

Sergeant Richard Ruane and PCSO Natalie Parrott with Laurel and Hardy statues (Lesley Haylett / PA)

A couple of life-size statues of Laurel and Hardy were found nearly a year after their theft.

Lesley Haylett, 62, and her partner Peter Elliott, 72, were devastated after the 6-foot figures were taken outside their home in Romford, London, for the fourth time last July.

Mr. Elliott, to whom the statues were given by Mrs. Haylett more than 40 years ago, was in the hospital to receive a bone marrow transplant at the time of the theft.

The 6-foot fiberglass statues of Laurel and Hardy have been missing for nearly a year from a house in Romford and were found by police on July 15 (Lesley Haylett / PA)

The 6-foot fiberglass statues of Laurel and Hardy have been missing for nearly a year from a house in Romford and were found by police on July 15 (Lesley Haylett / PA)

Ms. Haylett said Laurel and Hardy were found by police on July 15 in a garage – almost exactly a year after they went missing – but officers didn’t tell her exactly where they were recovered.

He told the PA news agency: “I couldn’t believe it when the police told me they found them, especially since they went missing the day Pete went for a bone marrow transplant.

“It was pure stroke of luck that the police found them. They were conducting a search when they found them under a blue tarpaulin in a closed garage.

“They told me that one of the officers, PC Jo McCarthy, recognized them and said: ‘They are Laurel and Hardy, they have been stolen'”.

As part of the campaign to find the statues, entrepreneur Dean Floyd had offered a reward of £ 5,000 – which he then increased to £ 10,000 – to try and encourage someone to come forward.

Mrs. Haylett said, “Pete couldn’t believe it when I told him they had been found – he was really very happy.

“We really thought they were gone. Especially when Dean raised his reward to £ 10,000 and no one stepped forward. That’s a lot of money and I really thought someone would call and say “Oh, my friend has it in his garage”.

“So Pete is over the moon, he really is. He couldn’t believe they were back. I can’t believe they’re back. “

Ms. Haylett added that she was very grateful to the police, especially PC McCarthy, for finding them.

The fiberglass statues have been stolen numerous times over the years and were last returned in 2018 after being taken three years earlier in 2015.

Ms. Haylett said the statues are famous in the area as they have been part of an elaborate Christmas exhibit the couple has organized annually in aid of charities for the past 36 years.

He added that Laurel and Hardy will return to their rightful place in the performance this Christmas after disappearing from last year.

Comic duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (PA) (PA Archive)

Comic duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (PA) (PA Archive)

Mr. Floyd, who offered the reward on behalf of his construction company Chigwell Group, said, “I am absolutely over the moon that the Laurel and Hardy statues have now been returned to their rightful owners.

“When I was told about the theft, I took immediate action to offer a £ 10,000 reward for their safe return, but when no information emerged, like many others they feared they would never be seen again.

“So we were as surprised and happy as everyone else to hear that the kids have been found and will soon be back on the show and will once again play a central role in some of the local community’s fundraising activities.”

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “The statues were recovered as part of a search in connection with a separate police investigation. We are delighted to have been able to reunite Laurel and Hardy with their owner. “

Comedy duo Laurel and Hardy were known for slapstick comic shorts from the 1920s to 1940s.

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