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Stolen Aylesbury World Cup topiary footballer found

Foliage in shape of footballer
The hedge had grown for six months before being cut into shape

A topiary footballer stolen only hours after being placed on a roundabout in Buckinghamshire to celebrate the World Cup has been found.

It had been placed in a flowerbed designed to look like the England flag on Exchange Street roundabout in Aylesbury.

Two men were captured on CCTV on Tuesday carrying the hedge away.

Lesley Ridgeway from Stoke Road in the town found the "green man" in a lane behind her house on Thursday.

Mrs Ridgeway, who thought it might belong to neighbours, did not realise the footballer was stolen until her daughter recognised it from news reports.

"It was lucky I went to show the statue to my daughter otherwise it may have still been here," she said.

"We put him in water overnight and even nicknamed him Ronaldo!"

The footballer has been taken to Crown Leys allotment site to be "re-nourished" in the hope that it can be returned to the roundabout.

Members of Aylesbury Town Council with the damaged topiary footballer
Aylesbury Town Council members are to repair the damaged topiary

The outdoor team from Aylesbury Town Council is to carry out some repairs to the foliage.

Robert Taft from the council said: "We're hoping to re-instate it on the roundabout early next week, so that he can be there for the initial stages of the World Cup."

The hedge had been growing for six months before it was cut into shape and installed on the roundabout.

Another topiary statue of a cyclist, put up to represent Cycle Aylesbury on the same roundabout, was not tampered with.

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