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Rock discovery craze sweeps across Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 11:45 06 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:54 06 August 2018

The Suffolk Rocks craze is sweeping across the county. Pictured is Carlton Colville resident Paul Youngman with rocks he has designed. Picture: PAUL YOUNGMAN

The Suffolk Rocks craze is sweeping across the county. Pictured is Carlton Colville resident Paul Youngman with rocks he has designed. Picture: PAUL YOUNGMAN

Archant

It started with the discovery of a few mysterious stones.

The Suffolk Rocks craze is sweeping across the county. Pictured are rocks designed by Carlton Colville resident Paul Youngman. Picture: PAUL YOUNGMANThe Suffolk Rocks craze is sweeping across the county. Pictured are rocks designed by Carlton Colville resident Paul Youngman. Picture: PAUL YOUNGMAN

But now hundreds of rocks delicately painted by budding artists have sparked a county-wide treasure hunt – with thousands of people joining in a craze to find them hidden across Suffolk.

Based on similar groups set up in America, Yorkshire and neighbouring Norfolk, the Suffolk Rocks craze has spread far and wide, with more than 5,200 people joining an ever-growing Facebook group.

Artists use a pen or paint to decorate rocks, stones and pebbles with a variety of eye-catching designs including animals, cartoon characters, emojis or just colourful patterns.

Sealed to protect them from rain, their creators hide them in scenic spots around the county and challenge young and old to uncover them.

The Suffolk Rocks craze is sweeping across the county. Pictured are rocks designed by Carlton Colville resident Paul Youngman. Picture: PAUL YOUNGMANThe Suffolk Rocks craze is sweeping across the county. Pictured are rocks designed by Carlton Colville resident Paul Youngman. Picture: PAUL YOUNGMAN

Those lucky enough to track one down share their finds on the Facebook page with other rock hunters, before choosing to either hide them in new places or whether to keep them and give them a fresh look.

One those unexpectedly hooked by the craze is offshore worker Paul Youngman.

“I only started painting the rocks a few months ago,” the 58-year-old from Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft said.

“I was walking round the seafront and picked up a stone that had been painted.

The Suffolk Rocks craze is sweeping across the county. Pictured are rocks designed by Carlton Colville resident Paul Youngman. Picture: PAUL YOUNGMANThe Suffolk Rocks craze is sweeping across the county. Pictured are rocks designed by Carlton Colville resident Paul Youngman. Picture: PAUL YOUNGMAN

“I hadn’t done any painting since I was at school. It was 42 years since I had done any artwork but I thought it looked quite interesting.”

So far Mr Youngman has painted 120 rocks, which included creating 50 eye-catching designs over the course of 28 days to keep him occupied whilst working offshore.

“A lot of the adults are addicted to it,” he explained.

“Every day I paint – sometimes I will do two or three rocks. It’s a big craze and everyone seems to enjoy it. They’re all out there trying to find that specific rock that they want.

The Suffolk Rocks craze is sweeping across the county. Pictured are rocks designed by Carlton Colville resident Paul Youngman. Picture: PAUL YOUNGMANThe Suffolk Rocks craze is sweeping across the county. Pictured are rocks designed by Carlton Colville resident Paul Youngman. Picture: PAUL YOUNGMAN

“It’s exciting for children in particular to find the rock they are looking for.”

The craze follows on from Felixstowe Finds, where thousands of people similarly picked pebbles from the coastal town’s beach and painted them for others to find.

The Felixstowe group was started by mother-of-two Kelly Taylor, who was searching for activities to keep her children occupied during the summer holidays.

Find the groups on Facebook by searching Suffolk Rocks (UK) or @FelixstoweFinds

Broadcaster, author, explorer and geographer Nicholas Crane will be speaking on the challenges facing Suffolk’s coastline at a conference in the county next month.

Highways chiefs are monitoring gusts and wind speeds as Storm Ali makes its way to Suffolk.

A fallen tree is blocking the railway tracks at Needham Market causing severe disruption to passengers.

A campaign group attempting to stop the sale of school land to allow 69 houses to be built was hit with a blow after plans passed the next stage.

Three men and a 14-year-old boy have been arrested after police pursued a suspected stolen car from the A14.

People living in Suffolk’s most affluent areas are living between four and seven years longer than those in deprived areas of the county, new figures have warned

The jury in the trial of a Colchester man accused of making and sending a parcel bomb to his father and step-mother’s home is expected to continue its deliberations tomorrow.

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