(UPI) Garden stores in Britain are facing a garden gnome shortage, and industry experts said the recent blockage of the Suez canal is partially to blame.
Ian Byrne, assistant manager of Highfield Garden World in Whitminster, Gloucestershire, said COVID-19 lockdowns led to a boom in sales of gnome statues and other gardening supplies.
He said the increased demand mixed with a shortage of raw materials attributed to the recent blocking of the Suez canal by the cargo ship Ever Given has made garden gnomes increasingly difficult to find.
"We haven't seen a gnome in six months now, unfortunately," Byrne told The Guardian.
"Raw materials are becoming a bit of an issue and unfortunately gnomes are a victim of that shortage of supply. Gnomes of any type, plastic, stone or concrete, are in short supply," he said.
Figures from Britain's National Office of Statistics confirmed sales at DIY stores and garden centers spiked in 2020.
Iain Wylie, chief executive of Britain's Garden Center Association, said shortages of raw materials have impacted supply of gnomes, furniture and other outdoor decorations.
"Most garden centers haven't noticed -- although they will. We're facing a perfect storm of lockdown, everyone being stuck at home, and one thing people can do is their gardening," he said.
He said other factors have also impacted the shortage.
"We are not immune to a ship getting stuck in a canal, freight cost issues due to Brexit, or the pandemic," he said.Copyright 2021 by United Press International