A swallow sculpture that was snatched from Cleveleys Promenade two years ago has been found.
The bird is one of 12 similar colourful statues installed on the prom wall in January 2014 as part of a £2.1m project to improve the appearance of the Fylde coast.
The birds, worth £12,000, had been in place for just a few days when six of them were snatched by mystery thieves. They sat on the Promenade along with other sculptures telling the tale of the sea swallow.
Many thought the art display lost forever – but one cheeky sea swallow has ‘flown home’ after being found by an eagle-eyed shop owner less than one mile from where it disappeared two years ago.
Barbara Ward, 66, spotted the bird, made from red transparent resin, in the window of The Red Cross charity shop on Princess Road while out shopping two weeks ago. She paid £6.50 for the £1,000 sculpture, which she intended to display as a Christmas decoration in her book shop, Bookmark, on Victoria Road West.
She said: “I collect glass sculptures as a hobby and I thought the swallow would look lovely in the shop. I noticed it sitting on the shelf for a few days and I admired it, so I phoned them up and asked them if they would put it aside for me.
“It was only a week later that my friend saw it and said she thought it was one of the birds that was stolen from Cleveleys Promenade two years ago. I looked it up and sure enough it was the same bird. It’s a really lovely item.
“I have no idea how it ended up in a charity shop but whoever donated it was taking a great chance by handing it in.”
The grandma-of-six added that she and her husband Nick now hope to return the sea swallow to it’s rightful owners.
She said: “We were tempted at first to keep it, but I think we should do the right thing and return it.
“I’m quite sad it’s got to go, but I would hate for someone to come in and see it and think we were responsible for stealing it!”
A British Red Cross spokesperson said: “We had no idea about the bird’s background when it was donated to us, but we are delighted that it has turned up safe and sound in our shop. We hope the other missing birds turn up safe too.”