PERCY the talking penguin bin is back at Bourne Outdoor Swimming Pool after a week-long search for him ended happily.
The 4ft black and white bin, worth about £450, was stolen just over two weeks ago by thieves who climbed over the changing rooms and lifted the bin over barbed wire fencing surrounding the wall of the pool.
Disgust from residents over the theft led to a frantic search around Bourne and the bin was found a week later by a dog walker who saw it on a derelict railway bridge near Elsea Park housing estate.
Mandy Delaine-Smith, chairman of Bourne Outdoor Pool Preservation Trust, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have him back, even though he’s a little bit damaged and worse for wear.
“We had an absolutely fantastic response from local people who were disgusted that someone could do this to a charity.
“A dog walker phoned up my husband, Anthony, who was out with some of his colleagues from the BRM Committee planning their Celebration Day in October.
“But they broke off from that to get Percy down from the railway bridge.”
The bin, nicknamed Percy by one of the BRM Committee members who recovered him, has now been reunited with his penguin partner Penny which was left behind by the thieves.
Both bins have proved popular with youngsters at the pool since they were bought about five years ago with money donated by groups including Bourne Rotary Club.
Mrs Delaine-Smith said: “I assume Percy had been hidden in someone’s garage before he was dumped on the railway bridge.
“It woulld have taken several people to leave him there and the police have now advised us to lock him and Penny away at night.”
Other security measures to prevent the bins from being stolen in the future are planned the pool’s trustees.
“This was rather a strange incident and we hope it was a one-off,” Mrs Delaine-Smith said.