From the Peterlee Mail

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HOW about this for taking the Mickey?

Happy-go-lucky David Leek reckons he has got nearly 350 toys of the Disney character in one room – and he only started collecting them three years ago.

Ever since he came back from a trip to Disneyland Paris, David has been on a one-man mission to collect as many as he can. But despite the impressive collection, his quirky hobby hasn’t cost him much to assemble.

For David, who is celebrating his 76th birthday tomorrow, makes a weekly trip to car boot sales in the area and buys them all from there.

Despite his toys being official Disney merchandise and some standing at 3ft tall, David says the most he has ever paid for one is £5.

The majority cost David no more than 20p.

The dad of three, who also has one granddaughter, makes sure he gets to every car boot sale as early as possible

He has a scour round for any Mickey toys then brings them home and puts them in the washing machine before placing them alongside their identical companions.

At one point David even looked into a possible world record attempt of the most Mickey Mouse toys. But he was shocked to find one American man owns 3,000.

Despite his weekly purchases, David acknowledges he will most probably never reach that figure, but insists he plans to carry on buying for as long as he can. David, who moved to Hartlepool last year from Billingham where he owned Leeks DIY store for 23 years, said: “It all started off as a gimmick really.

“I was in Disneyland with a friend of mine who insisted on bringing a Mickey Mouse toy back. When I came home I bought a couple myself from car boot sales and it just went from there.

“I go to a sale just about every week and the most I have been to is three in one day.

“You would be surprised at how many Mickey Mouse toys you find at a car boot sale.”

Although David goes to the sales only to find the toys to add to his collection, he says he would never pay over the odds.

“I have got some absolutely brilliant Mickeys but the most I have ever paid is £5,” he added.

“Sometimes I find myself paying more to get in to the car boot sales than I do for the toys. I suppose collecting them just gives me something to do.

“I have worked 12 hours a day every single day since I left school, so when I stopped working I needed to keep busy and going to boot sales and collecting the toys is a good way to do it.”

By Adam

Adam has been a fan of Disney since he was small. He runs the Disneybrit Podcast. He is also the author of several Disney books.

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