IT may have taken a while, but a statue stolen from the gardens of Nymans in Handcross has been returned – a year after the theft.

The statue of a shepherd boy was taken on September 1, 2016, and was discovered in a barn near Swanley, Kent, on Monday, last week.

Steven Sibley, 24, from New England Road, Haywards Heath, pleaded guilty to theft, including theft by finding, at Crawley Magistrates’ court on November 2, 2016. He was given a rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to pay £3,692 in compensation.

Kent Police received a phone call from a member of the public who discovered the four foot statue in the rented barn.

PC Ben Gould said: “This is a fantastic result in being able to reunite the statue with the rightful owners.”