A MISSING "spice girl" statute has been found — on the putting green at a golf course.

Walmersley Golf Course greenkeeper Brett Hannah was left scratching his head when he saw a strange object on the 12th green while he was tending a nearby fairway at 6.30am last Friday.

On closer inspection, it turned out to be a 4ft-high statue that — as the Bury Times reported last week — was stolen from Spice Garden Restaurant in Square Street, Ramsbottom, to the shock of its owners.

Mr Hannah was perplexed at to how the statue got there, only to have his questions answered when he picked up a copy of the Bury Times.

The statue, known as Lady Doll, has now been reunited with the restaurant’s owner Gae Owen, who has given Mr Hannah a free meal to thank him.

“Mrs Owen was thrilled when I took the statue back. She was grinning from ear to ear and thanking me over and over,” said Mr Hannah.

He added: “I’m glad I could help her out and the free meal with my wife will be a lovely treat.”

Mr Hannah, of Walmersley, said it was the strangest sight he had seen in 16 years of tending the golf course.

The 36-year-old added: “It was a bit creepy, to be honest. There was no one around and I saw this strange object next to the flag on the green.

“When I got closer, I couldn’t believe it. What an odd thing to see on a golf course.”

There is a road near to the 12th hole and one theory is that whoever took Lady Doll dumped it “discreetly” after seeing press coverage, and appeals for the return of the statue.

Mr Hannah said: “They probably wanted somewhere quiet, but where people go regularly and the golf course ticks those boxes.

“Whoever it was wrapped the base of the statue in a bin bag to protect it from the weather.”

Mrs Owen, who imported the £200 statue from the Far East in 2012 and placed it in the restaurant foyer to welcome customers according to Thai tradition said: “I’m so glad that she is home.

“I am grateful to Brett for bringing her back. It was a happy ending to what started as a sad story.”