A PINK hippo that went AWOL from Neilston Primary was returned to the school in 2003, thanks to two of Strathclyde’s finest.

Pupils were shocked to be told that Henri Hippo – one of three new litter bins at the school – had disappeared.

Part of an environmental campaign, the metre-high sculptures cost almost £300 each.

The three bins had been installed two months earlier to highlight the eco-friendly schools initiative.

A spokeswoman for the school said at the time: “The wee ones are so upset. We cannot afford to replace it – that money’s gone. We very much hope it will be returned.”

The next morning, police officers recovered Henri from a home in Neilston after it became clear the bin had been pinched as a prank.

Community safety officer John Kelsey said: “The person responsible explained it had been a practical joke. We accepted the explanation and nobody will be charged.

“The hippo has been returned.

“The school was thoroughly delighted and they thanked the officers for the safe return of their hippo.

“In future, I think they will be bolted down.”

It is understood that a former pupil had taken the hippo and had it in their flat, still filled with litter.

A spokeswoman for Bradford-based Slingsby explained that Henri Hippo bins were part of a range of products it produced which helped young people to practice good environmental habits.