TO MANY it was just a bush in a pot and its theft may not be the crime of the century.
But to Carterton resident Gordon Phillips, the stealing of his topiary from his front garden was the theft of eight years’ worth of work to craft it into the shape of a teddy bear.
The plant, worth an estimated £450, was taken at about noon on Tuesday, April 17, while Mr Phillips and his wife were at work.
Mr Phillips, 59, a headteacher at a school near Walsall, said he had been working on his tree for eight years, clipping away at its branches to create the form of a bear with the help of a frame.
He said: “I am really annoyed and upset about it and so are most of the people in the street. It had literally grown on me. It was almost part of the family.
“I bought it in Cornwall when I was on holiday. It is of great sentimental value to me because I spent so much time pruning it up.
“It is very therapeutic.
“Nobody would walk past the tree without stopping and admiring it. Children would always stop and look at it.”
Apart from his bear bush, Mr Phillips also has topiary plant of giraffes, an eagle and of a dolphin jumping through a hoop amongst his collection of 10.
He also has a number of bonsai trees.
The three-foot teddy bear was sitting in his front garden, and Mr Phillips had decorated the bush with a pair of sunglasses which were also taken.
Mr Phillips said: “It is an absolutely incredible tree and I have never seen anything like it. Very few places stock topiary trees and this is a very unique specimen. It would cost around £450 from a garden centre.”
He said: “The police say it has probably been sold on.
“I am hoping that whoever has bought it off the thief is a very honest person and will hand it over.”
Police said a 30-year-old man from Witney was arrested on suspicion of theft on Saturday and had been bailed until Monday, June 4.