Singing pensioner John Neill can perform a version of the George Formby classic Leaning On A Lamppost if he feels like it - thanks to a police operation.
The elder half of 2Grand, the duo from Rossington who achieved national fame as finalists in top-rated TV show Britain’s Got Talent, is smiling again after his ornamental lamppost was tracked down during a Doncaster police crime crackdown.
It had been stolen from the garden of his home a few weeks earlier and John was not expecting ever to see it again.
But it has been returned safely after a search warrant was executed at a property in Rossington.
Officers from Rossington Safer Neighbourhood Team have executed a number of warrants in the area as part of the multi-agency project Neighbourhood Alliance, which is currently in the village until the end of this week.
One of the warrants resulted in the recovery of a variety of stolen items, one being a black iron-effect, ornamental lamppost, which was placed in the police property store in case it was claimed.
Meanwhile, officers on patrol on Church Fields Road, Rossington, were walking past a property when they noticed a length of loose wiring coming up from the ground, which appeared to have been a previous base for some form of garden ornament.
When they spoke to the resident, Mr Neill, who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 as part of singing duo 2Grand with his granddaughter Sally Lax, he told the officers an ornamental lamppost had been stood there, but it had been stolen a few weeks ago.
Officers told him they had recovered an ornamental lamppost earlier in the week, and Mr Neill provided an identical description to the one recovered.
The lamppost was later returned to Mr Neill, who said: “I can’t believe I’ve managed to get it back!
“I thought it would have been long gone by now. My many thanks to the local police who managed to find and return this lamp to me.”
PCSO Russ Saywell, from the SNT, said: “The warrants were part of the Neighbourhood Alliance project, which is all about listening to residents’ concerns and putting measure in place to tackle them.
“I am really pleased that, through the project, we have been able to reunite Mr Neill with his property.”
The theft of items from gardens on Doncaster estates has been on the increase this year because of the rising value of scrap metal, and property owners are advised to make them more secure.
A number of agencies are involved in Neighbourhood Alliance including the police, Doncaster Council, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, NHS and other statutory bodies all committed to working together to reduce crime and disorder in Doncaster.