Two acorns which were apparently planted by John Lennon and Yoko Ono have gone on display in a museum after being seized from a drunk driver who claimed he had stolen them.

The acorns, the latest exhibit in the Liverpool Beatles Museum, are said to have been planted in the grounds of Coventry Cathedral by the Beatles singer and his wife at the start of their campaign for peace.

The couple visited the cathedral in 1968 to create a living art sculpture, with a wrought iron bench to surround where the two oak trees would grow.

Beatles Museum new exhibit
The two acorns John Lennon and Yoko Ono planted at Coventry Cathedral are now on display at the Beatles Museum in Mathew Street, Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

But the sculpture was reported to have caused upset with the cathedral canon, and within a week the acorns had been stolen and Lennon removed the bench.

More than 55 years after they were planted, the two acorns made their way to the museum, on Liverpool’s Mathew Street, in an envelope sent by retired police officer Mike Davies.

Mr Davies, a former traffic sergeant with Warwickshire Police, said they had been brought into Nuneaton police station by a man, of about 19 or 20, who had been caught drink driving outside Bedworth a few days after the cathedral planting.

He said the driver, who looked like a “typical lad about town”, and his girlfriend were Beatles fans who had returned to the cathedral after the planting ceremony and stolen the acorns, coating them in clear nail varnish to preserve them.

Because the acorns had no owner and, at the time, no value, Mr Davies said he could not charge the couple with theft.

The 88-year-old told the PA news agency: “They walked and the acorns were left. It was no good taking them back and replanting them because they were covered in nail varnish so wouldn’t grow.

“They were in my desk until I retired in 1980 when I put them in a cardboard box and that’s where they remained until I decided to start clearing out my own personal things.”

When Mr Davies came across the acorns last year it took him a moment to remember the story behind them.

“They were two seconds off going in the waste bin when I thought ‘that was John Lennon and Yoko Ono’,” he said.

Beatles Museum new exhibit
The acorns were sent to the museum by retired police officer Mike Davies (Peter Byrne/PA)

The great-grandfather, from Nuneaton, said he was not a fan of the Beatles, and preferred the music of American tenor Mario Lanza.

He searched Google for the details of the Beatles museum and decided “for the sake of a stamp” to post the acorns there to see if they were of interest.

In the letter he sent, he said: “If not, just bin them. I certainly have no interest in them being returned.”

On Thursday, the acorns went on display at the museum following an unveiling by Lennon’s sister Julia Baird.

Museum owner Roag Best, brother of the original Beatles drummer Pete Best, said: “John Lennon and Yoko Ono kicked off their whole peace movement with this art installation, where the acorns were planted.”

Lennon and Ono, who famously held “bed-ins” as part of their anti-war message, went on to send acorns to leaders across the world to promote peace.