A walker had reported a body floating in the water near the coast and called the emergency services, but the authorities soon realised that the body was not that of a person.
The figure was returned to Margaret Wells, of Cosham, Hampshire, who had it stolen from her home together with her jewellery during a burglary in September, Portsmouth's The News reports.
Wells revealed: "The police rang and said somebody has found a body in the Solent and it belongs to you - it's E.T. I said, 'Oh God, I knew E.T. would come home'."
She added: "He's lost a finger and looks a bit roughed up. But he had a smile on his face."
The copy of the title character from Steven Spielberg's 1982 science-fiction classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was made for Margaret by her daughter Louise for a stage make-up course nine years ago.
A coastguard spokeswoman said of the incident: "It rolled up on the beach and gave somebody a bit of a fright."
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Watch the original trailer for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial below: