Borrowash and Draycott's mystery gnome invasion uncovered

Mystery gnome left outside one house
Image caption The gnomes were usually dropped off between 22:30 and 01:00

The man behind a mystery gnome invasion in two villages in Derbyshire says he did it "to put smiles on faces".

About 40 small plastic gnomes were left on doorsteps overnight in Borrowash and Draycott over the past few weeks, leaving residents puzzled.

The prankster told BBC Derby his campaign was at an end but may resume in the run-up to Christmas.

He said he wanted to be anonymous but was delighted by kind messages posted on his spoof account on Facebook.

"I've had so many lovely messages from people saying what a good job I've been doing.

"People are saying Borrowash hasn't been so happy in years. I'm absolutely delighted."

Long black wig

The joker, who gave himself the spoof name Freddie Fisher, said he came up with the idea after he left a gnome outside a friend's house and enjoyed seeing their surprised response.

He then started donning a long black wig as a disguise before heading out late at night to drop off the gnomes at homes, shops and cafes.

A gnome was even left outside BBC Radio Derby's studios after the mystery was discussed on air.

The campaign ended on a poignant note with the final gnome being placed outside the home of a Borrowash woman who had been fighting a serious illness.

Freddie said: "Glenda hasn't been very well. She's bed ridden in her house and I wanted to put a smile on her face."

He said he would now be taking a long break before returning for an "even bigger campaign" close to Christmas.

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