SHEFFIELD teacher Michael LeCount has a plastic passion - a love for Lego that has seen him amass one of the biggest collections in the country.
The distinctive children's building bricks this week celebrate their official 50th anniversary - with an amazing 400 billion sold since 1958.
Michael's done his bit to keep Lego at the top - he estimates he has 10 million bricks and other components in his Hillsborough home.
The 40-year-old also has around 3,000 different sets dating back to the 1960s, all perfectly boxed and stored in pristine condition.
"We did have to move house to make room for more Lego back in 2000," Michael admitted.
"We used to live in a three bedroomed place, now we're in a five bedroomed home and the Lego has a bedroom all to itself - but some of it is also in the cellar and the loft. Luckily my wife Lucy is very understanding."
As you'd expect, Michael became a Lego fan when he has a child, before coming back to the toy when he was around 20.
"This is true of most Lego collectors - we go through what we call 'the dark ages' when we get distracted by other things. But then you come back to it, you find you have access to a credit card and off you go."
Michael, who teaches at Charnock Hall Primary in Gleadless, said he always enjoyed constructing buildings as a youngster, but never had enough bricks to put his ideas into action.
"At one time I'd want to create things like skyscrapers and other large buildings," he said.
"I still like to construct things but now really I'm a collector at heart. I like to collect the historic stuff that goes back to the very beginning."
Michael is reluctant to put a value on his collection - but admits the most expensive set he bought originally issued in the 1970s cost 500.
"I have to keep up with the new sets too - a recent Star Wars kit for the Millennium Falcon set me back 350. My favourite set of all is called the A10 from the 60s, it's also known as the town plan edition."
Michael's two children Rebecca, aged six, and Samuel, four, are all in favour of their dad's hobby - and so are his pupils.
"They all think it's great and I do take some of my stuff into school from time to time - the kids are fascinated," he said.
Michael is one of a select band of around 120 serious collectors who are part of the Brickish Association - though he exchanges information with fans from Germany and all over the world.
He attends conventions and festivals - many held at Legoland down at Windsor of course.
"Over the years I've felt that Lego has sometimes lost its way with special editions based around things like Star Wars or Indiana Jones. But now there's a move back to basics, back to the traditional construction kits which is good.
"I think Lego will continue to go from strength to strength - I still think it's great, that's for sure," Michael added.
Click on the green icon above to see a slideshow of Michael's collection.
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