Photo: Alex Chambers Via Twitter
Photo: Alex Chambers Via TwitterAlex Chambers Via Twitter

The news that a massive three-story, 10-tonne mango statue in Queensland, Australia was stolen hit international headlines on Monday. But the story was soon revealed to be a hoax as chicken restaurant chain Nando's has claimed responsibility for the disappearance of the giant fruit from the town of Bowen.

The towering fiberglass fruit had gone missing on Monday from the tourist information centre in the north Queensland town.

News of the purported "theft" was reported by major international news outlets, as CCTV footage, photos and media releases sent out by the Bowen centre staff aided to the credibility of the story.

However, there was confusion after the story appeared in news outlets, when it was known that no police report had been made.

But Nando's soon confessed to the fact that they were responsible for "borrowing" the tourist attraction.

"The disappearance of Bowen's Big Mango has generated quite a lot of attention over the last day or so, and we confess Nando's was behind moving the three storey high, ten tone tourist attraction," it said on its website.

"Nando's would like to thank the people of Bowen for being good sports about us 'borrowing' their beautiful mango".

The famous fruit, which was unveiled in 2002 as a tourist attraction, appeared to have been stolen with heavy machinery and cranes.

Meanwhile, adding to the fact that police were not investigating, a caller to ABC radio Tuesday said that the mango was lying in the bush behind the information centre where it usually sits.

"They've laid it over on its side on a couple of tractor tyres by the look of it and covered all that end that's facing Bowen with big, long tree branches and shade cloths so nobody can see it," the caller said.

"It's a pretty hard thing to hide," he added.

There are massive tourist-attraction fruits all over Australia, including the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple, the Big Strawberry and many Big Apples and Oranges.

Additionally, Australia is also home for giant fishes, a lobster, kangaroo, koalas, penguin and a massive cask of wine.

Bowen is popularly known as the mango production capital of the country.