An old shop mannequin that recently found a new life as a “police officer” in an Aberdeenshire village was kidnapped and safely returned in less than 24 hours.
Bob the bobby had been rescued from Debenhams by Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Geva Blackett, who asked the department store to send its old dummies to her after the news it would be shutting down.
The mannequin, and six of his colleagues, have been sent to communities across Deeside to dress up as police officers and as a friendly reminder to passing motorists to slow down when driving through the rural communities of the region.
But Bob, who was nicknamed by local Aboyne schoolchildren and started his new life as a lawman on Ballater Road in the village, disappeared on Monday morning, just a week after first being put in place.
He had last been on Sunday evening.
The mannequin had been removed from the chains and cable-ties that had been used to secure him to his spot overlooking the road.
But yesterday afternoon, after a flurry of posts on social media to try to locate the missing dummy, the real police confirmed they had recovered their plastic contemporary safe and sound.
A police spokesman said officers are currently investigating the theft.
He said: “We received a report relating to the theft of a mannequin from Ballater Road in Aboyne around 12.40pm on Monday, 29 March.”
“The mannequin has since been recovered and officers are following a positive line of inquiry.”
Mrs Blackett asked Debenhams for the shop’s old dummies after Braemar’s police mannequin, Allan, was stolen earlier this year.
They have been distributed to Deeside communities looking to slow down traffic on their local roads in Lumphanan, Ballater, Logie Coldstone and Braemar.
Mrs Blackett said: “It’s disappointing that people seem to find it amusing to remove something that isn’t theirs, but I am so pleased for the Aboyne school pupils that Bob has been found and will soon be back in place to help drivers to remember to slow down so they can cross the road safely.
“Let’s hope he stays there now.”