Police have solved the “mystery” of dozens of ornamental elephants that were left on doorsteps in St Helens.
St Helens Police posted on social media on Tuesday to explain the moving tale behind the apparently discarded statuettes.
According to the force, 64 of the elephants were left on different doorsteps in the Merseyside town on Thursday and Friday last week.
Officers said they received several reports from people who were “uncertain” of the items’ purpose, and revealed they had been left out as “a touching gesture by an elderly man”.
UPDATE | The owner of 64 ornamental elephants left on doorsteps in #StHelens, an elderly man from St Helens, has attended a police station to collect the items & explained he left the elephants to mark the anniversary of his wife’s passing. Read more 👇https://t.co/hAwAmdOHLW pic.twitter.com/BFwYNMQmDc
— MerPol St Helens (@MerPolStHelens) December 1, 2020
“We have solved the mystery of the elephants that appeared on doorsteps in St Helens – and there is a moving story behind it,” St Helens Police said in a Facebook post.
“The original owner of 64 ornamental elephants left on doorsteps in St Helens attended St Helens Police Station to collect the items yesterday evening and explained he had left the elephants to mark the first anniversary of his wife’s passing.
“We received several reports the elephants had been left outside homes in the Vincent Street area of St Helens on Thursday night into Friday morning last week.”
Community Sergeant Andy Halfpenny said: “I would like to thank those people who made us aware of the presence of the elephants out of genuine uncertainty about why they were there.
“Thankfully it has now been confirmed that the motivation was sheer kindness and the ornaments were left on doorsteps as a touching gesture by an elderly man in honour of his late wife, who had collected them.”
After finding out the story behind the elephants, social media users suggested locals should do something nice for the elderly resident.
“That’s lovely and I hope he isn’t alone and has a family,” one Facebook user commented, “Not everyone has malicious intentions.”
Another said: “Oh wow – I knew there’d be nothing sinister about it.
“Poor man, I hope the residents can possibly do something for him in return. Even if children just draw him pictures of elephants to post.”
One person commented: “Bless him gifting his lovely late wife's collection to bring joy to others, I hope he has family to keep him company at Christmas time.”