IF you went down to Monkwick on Friday, you would have been in for a big surprise.

A mystery toy fan recreated a giant teddy bear’s picnic in The Willows by scattering hundreds of soft toys on people’s cars, gardens and windowsills.

Residents awoke to find furry faces peering in through their windows and groups of bears propped up in their plant pots.

Three bin-bags of toys have since been collected by residents with the help of councillor for Berechurch ward, Dave Harris, and sent on their way to the Children’s Charity Appeal shop in Mersea Road.

Neighbours gathered in the street to look at the bizarre scene before the clear-up on Friday morning.

Mr Harris said the “soft crime” culprit is yet to identify themselves.

He said: “It’s one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen in all my time here.

“It all started yesterday afternoon when lots of mums rang me to say there were about 20 little teddies along the path to Monkwick Avenue.

“I said I would get a council warden to pick them up and they were gone this morning.

“But all of a sudden I got a call from Sam Cansdale saying there were bears all round the Willows Estate - there’s about 180 houses round there and quite a number have teddies on their drive and sitting on the cars, walls and hedges.”

Ms Cansdale, who lives in The Willows and was taking her children to school when she spotted the bears, said: “I feel a bit left out because I didn’t get one on my garden.

“I just think it’s hilarious and it’s obviously someone with a good sense of humour.”

The teddies took three people half an hour to collect but one teddy seemed determined to stay put.

Mr Harris, of Prince Phillip Road, said: “Most of the teddies appeared overnight but one of them was pictured in one place yesterday and it reappeared in a different place today.

“It’s a bit of a soft crime if you pardon the pun - obviously somebody just thought it was funny.

“Some people said it was a bit creepy seeing a teddy sitting on your car but the children really enjoyed it on their way to school.”