Mystery toy maker leaves tiny wooden robot figures around Portobello

Wooden toys have been found area Portobello with messages attached.
Wooden toys have been found area Portobello with messages attached.
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A MYSTERY toy maker is leaving tiny hand-hewn wooden robots around Portobello, much to the delight of residents.

The carefully-crafted toys have been found on the beach, in Figgate Park and on the promenade, as well as outside people’s houses and businesses. Many bear name plates or have their names inked onto them and some come with a message for the lucky finders and requests to post pictures of their new friends on social media.

First spotted in August, soon the robots were being found more frequently, but still the maker remains elusive.

Longtime Portobello resident Marianne Russell found her scrap wood toy in Straiton Place on September 1. She said: “I think it’s a lovely random act of kindness. I’m enjoying taking daft pictures of the wee robot doing things. I’d like its maker to know we appreciate its individuality.”

Little K5 is enjoying the good life with its adoptive family, going to a Garbage gig at Festival theatre, helping to cook meals and playing with the cat. Decorated with a black cut-out heart, a green button for an eye and a Scrabble piece, the toy has clearly been lovingly handcrafted by the secret creator.

K5 came with a label that reads “Like humans, not all robots are perfect”. Marianne “loved” the sentiment. She said: “K5 sometimes needs a little help to stay upright but we manage. Everyone and everything should be loved. I plan to take it on holiday with me next year. And maybe to Download Festival [in England].”

Residents have been left scratching their heads as to who is making the toys and with no leads so far, it could be some time before the wood carver is revealed.

Some robots are more elaborate than others, with decorations and different colours but they all share the same simple block design that has captured everyone’s hearts.

Many have Scrabble tiles and wooden hearts pasted to them, and little metal or hollowed out eyes.

Mum Emma Phillips was delighted when she and her toddler, Sophie, stumbled across SY3 last weekend. She said: “I had seen people posting about the robots online and was hoping I would find one.

“When I did I’m not sure who was more excited, me or my three-year-old. We couldn’t wait to take it home.”

Now a prized possession, Emma hopes that she will have the opportunity to thank the person who is taking the time to make the much-loved robots.

She said: “It’s such a thoughtful thing to do and is bringing lots of happiness to people. I hope they will tell us who they are and we can say a massive thank you. I feel quite lucky to have found one.”

Some parents have even put out pleas on social media in the hopes that they can get their hands on one of the little figurines.

Marianne, who has lived in Portobello for 38 years and whose four children were raised there, said: “We have no idea who is making them. It must be someone who has access to tools and spare wood. And a generous nature. I view it as a Portobello Banksy in some way.”