THE mystery surrounding the appearance of the Virgin Mary in Clayton-le-Moors has been solved.
After a fortnight’s "holiday" at Tim McLaughlin’s house Our Lady has returned home.
Tim, 49, of Whalley Road, Clayton-le-Moors, contacted the Observer after waking up one morning to see the four-foot plastic statue staring back at him from his garden as he drew back the curtains.
After an appeal in the Observer, a number of eagle-eyed readers called our newsdesk with information.
And Mary’s home was finally identified as St Mary’s Church in Sabden, near Clitheroe, nearly eight miles away.
Father Peter Birmingham from the church said: "One of the parishioners noticed that she had gone missing and we had no idea where to. This has happened before when a statue was found in a bush in the grounds.
"We looked this time but we couldn’t find her anywhere.
"It was probably a drunk playing a prank as he was walking down the street.
"We’re right across from the pub and I‘m sure they didn’t have any wrong intentions.
"The statue has no cash value but it means a lot to the church."
Mary’s minder, Tim, added: "I’m quite glad she’s gone home. She was just sitting in the lounge. I was wondering what I was going to do with her if she wasn’t claimed.
"The minister was quite pleased but we’re both pretty puzzled about how she ended up in Clayton. It’s a bit of a strange one."