Policeman 'goosed' over gnome prank

The case is finally closed for a Nelson police officer who has been receiving letters from his garden gnome - all the way from Mauritius and Singapore.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Wayne Johnston, who launched an unofficial inquiry to find the people behind the gnome's activities, said it had been a rough four months since "Gnomie" appeared and then disappeared from his garden.

Mr Johnston has discovered he's been lied to, deceived and even stalked by close friends, who confessed in a book of photographic evidence to the joke.

The friends have given the book to Mr Johnston as a memento of the prank. Photos of the group placing the gnome in Mr Johnston's garden and taking it away again are included along with "witness statements" and "offence reports".

Mr Johnston has found he was even photographed outside Nelson District Court three weeks ago when Gnomie returned from his travels with another gnome in a $147,000 Lexus car.

Mr Johnston said a friend helped him with his inquiry and it turned out she had also been in on the joke the entire time.

"I was made to look a goose," he said.

Others had jumped on the bandwagon, and at one point there were 22 gnomes in his garden, some of which were receiving Christmas cards.

"They're getting more Christmas cards than I am."

While Mr Johnston was down to four gnomes, a pink flamingo had recently appeared, although this time he was certain he knew how it got there.

"I've learned a few things out of this. For starters, believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see. Trust no one, and don't look very far for suspects."

- NZPA

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