A search is underway for a 12ft model of a giraffe stolen from the garden of a Sussex family.

Trudy the fibre-glass giraffe, a much-loved member of her local community, was taken under the cover of darkness and due to her size it is believed she must have been taken by at least two people.

The devastated Tilley family in Uckfield went on Facebook to appeal for information about her.


Their appeal was picked up internationally and people living in New Zealand are among those following the search.

Tanya Tilley, 48, who works for Tesco, said her 13-year-old daughter Yasmin discovered Trudy was missing from the front garden.

And she fears Trudy was “stolen to order”.

Mrs Tilley said: “It was dark and there are pathways and twittens all around.

“It was like an open invitation.

“But I didn’t expect it to go all over Facebook. For an inanimate object it has gone mental.”

Mrs Tilley said: “Trudy lived in our front garden. She stands next to a tree and has been there for years.

“We take in animals – people are always asking if they can re-home them.

“We have a bearded dragon, fish and so on.

“One day someone asked us to take in Trudy.

“They said if we did not she was going on the tip.”

Mrs Tilley said her husband, Mick, 50, a builder, pleaded with her to keep Trudy and soon she became like a member of the family.

Mrs Tilley, also mother to Conor, 16, and Summer, eight, added: “All the neighbours love her.

“People like to come and see her and have their photos taken with her.

“We couldn’t believe it when she was gone.

“I rang my husband and he said I had to call the police “I said I didn’t want to – I said the police will think I am nuts.

“So he reported it and the police took it seriously.”

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: “Police are appealing to anyone who saw a 12 ft giraffe being stolen from a front garden in Montacute Way in Uckfield.

“The fibre glass giraffe was taken between 11pm on Sunday, February 16 and 11am on Monday, February 17.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk quoting serial 1322 of 17/2.”