The 1.5 metre garden ornament disappeared from Abound Communities’ Leith Park retirement village at St Helena, 21km northeast of Melbourne’s CBD, a month ago.

The theft of the gorilla, affectionately known as Garry, upset the residents in the 140 self-contained independent living homes and the nearby Liscombe House aged care home.

Following extensive inquiries into Garry’s disappearance, police homed in on a property in Reservoir, 12km north of the capital city’s CBD, before calling in the Air Wing to conduct a fly over of the residence.

Police confirmed the “pilots went absolutely bananas” when they spotted Garry the gorilla perched between two garages on Monday.

Police executed a search warrant on the premises and Garry was carefully carried from the property by two officers to be returned to his natural habitat on Wednesday, where he will resume duties greeting visitors.

“It’s a great news story,” Victoria Police First Constable Darcie Sword said.