Fylde coast residents suspect they are one step closer to solving the mystery of the painted stones that have been appearing on beaches and doorsteps.
The brightly-coloured stones have been picked up by a number of different residents across Fleetwood and Cleveleys.
Steve Coward, of Flakefleet Road in Fleetwood, found 14 of the painted stones with his children in August and September, while Geoff and Jean Plant, of Inglewood Close, found eight near Rossall Point Observation Tower in October.
Resident sleuths now believe the pebbles are ‘love stones’ - special stones painted to bring a splash of colour to someone’s day, in the hope that they will make a ‘love stone’ of their own for someone else to find.
Mr Plant, 68, explained that the stones had amassed a huge following on social media websites, and are even popular overseas.
He said: “We were looking for sea glass on the beach when we found the stones. We didn’t pay them a second thought. Then when we saw the report in The Gazette and we decided to look into it.
“Painted stones are very popular on the internet. I’ve seen them on websites like Pinterest and Facebook.
“I don’t know if someone might have seen the pictures online and decided to replicate it. That’s the only thing I think it could be.
“The stones around here have been found from Fleetwood all the way to Cleveleys - that’s a good five miles. The paintings on them don’t look the same at all. They must have been done by different people.”
Mr Plant posted pictures of the stones he found on the internet in a bid to find the mystery artist.
He said: “I’ve even had replies from people who paint ‘love stones’ in Belgium and Germany.
“They really brightened my day. They’re a good way of getting families out on the beach to see if they can find some.
“If only I could paint, I would make some myself!”
Mr Coward, 51, who found the colourful stones at Fleetwood beach with his children Megan, nine, and Daniel, seven, said: “After putting our minds to it I think we came to the conclusion that it must have been someone from an online community.
“We found out about a group in Cornwall called ‘Who Gives a Rock’ that hides painted pebbles in parks and bus stops for people to find.
“The children will probably put the stones back on the beach for someone else to enjoy eventually, but right now they are their treasures.”