Old bill close in on garden gnome

ARREST THREAT OVER POLICE GNOME
BBC News 9th September 2006

Police have taken a dim view of a man’s glowing garden gnome and threatened him with arrest unless he removes it.

The solar-powered policeman figure stands sentinel in the garden of Gordon MacKillop’s home in Treovis, near Liskeard.

His neighbour, former policeman John McLean, says the gnome is annoying and upsets buyers viewing his home.

Now police have served Mr MacKillop with a notice for “placing a garden gnome with intent to cause harassment”.

Mr MacKillop, 46, was woken in the night by two officers who warned him that the gnome was offensive to his neighbours.

The notice, under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997, also accuses Mr MacKillop of intimidating potential buyers of Mr McLean’s £209,000 cottage.

Mr McLean has told officers that the garden gnome, which comes complete with police dog and solar light, was in an “annoying position”.

Mr MacKillop, a marine surveyor at Devonport Dockyard, said: “When you hear a knock at the door at quarter to midnight you don’t expect to be served with that.

“I was absolutely fuming. I thought there had been an accident in the family.”

Mr MacKillop said he bought the gnome to deter criminals, after his motorcycle was stolen from his drive.

“It just happened that it had a police uniform on,” he said.

“I’m not having the police telling me what type of garden gnome I can have in my garden.

“This is a standard gnome I bought from a retail store. If they are considered to be harassing they should be withdrawn from sale.”

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokeswoman said: “This isn’t just a petty issue. This has been ongoing for two or three years.”

Mr McLean was unavailable for comment.

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