Why this South Tyneside grandfather’s landmark garden is talk of the town

A grandfather’s garden has become a landmark attraction in South Shields as his collection of larger-than-life statues continues to grow.

Heaton Gardens resident Stan Yanetta alongside statues in his front garden. Picture by FRANK REID
Heaton Gardens resident Stan Yanetta alongside statues in his front garden. Picture by FRANK REID

Stan Yanetta, 58, of Heaton Gardens off Benton Road, Whiteleas, has been collecting the landmark statues since he moved into the property 17 years ago.

He now has around 30 on display in his front garden including his favourites, Laurel and Hardy, and other characters such as a Rambo and John Wayne plus a polar bear and a gorilla on the porch roof.

The latest addition, a black leopard on the garage roof – which was gifted to him by a friend 18 months ago - has been catching out passers-by with its glow in the dark eyes.

Heaton Gardens resident Stan Yanetta alongside statues of Lauren and Hardy in his front garden. Picture by FRANK REID

The grandfather-of-five began his collection with his much-loved comics Laurel and Hardy, after spotting them in a second-hand shop in Plymouth.

Since then many of the fibreglass statues have been sourced from South Shields market and ebay, costing up to £500 each.

“Once I had one I got attached to the big stuff and it just went from there. Now people come to me and ask me if I want them,” said Stan.

“A good friend of mine bought the cat for me and I thought ‘where am I going to put that?’ I love watching people go past and see it.”


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A statue of a leopard in Stan Yanetta's Heaton Gardens front garden. Picture by FRANK REID

Despite an incident in 2017 when vandals smashed one of his Oliver Hardy statues, Stan says he has only had positive responses from neighbours.

“It’s a well-known garden now, everybody tells me I’ve done a really nice job. I’ve had no bother whatsoever,” he continued.

“Taxis pull up and people get out and all want their photos taken with their arms around Laurel and Hardy. I’ve seen minibuses come before, its usually lasses who want their photos taken before they go out.”


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The property, which Stan shares with his partner, has also become well-known for his extravagant ‘haunted house’ Halloween and Christmas displays over the last six years, with the granddad even dressing up as Santa for kids passing by.

He added: “It’s just for the kids, to see the excitement on their faces, I love it.”