A LIFE-SIZE glassfibre crocodile — which transformed a quiet Westhougton street into a tourist attraction — has been stolen from its owner’s garden.

Visitors to Upper Lees Drive could have been forgiven for thinking they were hallucinating when they saw two realistic-looking six foot crocodiles basking on the grass outside one of the houses.

But now one of the glassfibre models has been stolen during the night — leaving their owners devastated.

Simon Bates, a floor layer, aged 38, was horrified when he returned home on Saturday morning to find just an outline in the grass to mark the spot where his unusual garden ornament once lay.

He said: “My children Abigail, aged nine, Olivia, aged six, and Sam, aged four, are gutted.

“We have been out knocking on some doors just asking if anyone has seen a crocodile. Fingers crossed it will come back.

“We have put up a banner in the window saying ‘Missing Crocodile’.

“There was always two in front of the house and now there is just a bald bit of grass in the shape of a crocodile.

“The kids are upset and I am to be honest — it was part of the front garden.”

Mr Bates believes the croc was taken at about 3.20am on Saturday morning, when a neighbour told him two men were spotted acting suspciously in the area. His wife, Kerry Bates, aged 37, was at home with the children when it went missing but did not see anybody take it.

He said: “We have had lots of people stopping and staring at the crocodiles since we got them and people take photos of them.

“Someone put up a picture of them on Facebook.”

The garden ornaments were given to Mr Bates more than a year ago by a friend who has since died.

Mr Bates said: “It’s got to be somebody coming back from the pub taking it, or something like that. I can’t see it being malicious.

“Whoever has it doesn’t need to do anything — if they could just bring it back one night, that would be great.

“It will be somebody having a laugh — and the crocodiles do look good. All I want is to have it back next to its mate.”

He has secured his remaining crocodile to prevent it from being taken.