A FOURTH statue has been removed from Stanley Park in a bid to thwart metal thieves.
Crooks stole three of the historic structures in a late night raid earlier this week.
The Italian Gardens were targeted on Sunday by thieves and the lead based figures – which have stood in place since 1926 – were stolen.
They vanished just months after £11,000 was spent fixing one of the statue’s heads and arms back into place after a vandal attack.
And sadly, a fourth statue, which was left behind by raiders has also been removed as a precaution in case the thieves return.
The Italian Gardens now stand empty and there is no guarantee the statues will return.
A Blackpool Council spokeswoman said: “We were left with no choice but to remove the statue from the Italian Gardens in case that one was targeted too.
“We’ll have to consider very carefully what we are going to do in the future with regards to replacing them.
“In the meantime we ask people to be vigilant and keep an eye open for any suspicious activity.”
Sean Gallagher, owner of the Art Deco cafe in Stanley Park, which is close to The Italian Gardens, said: “I think it’s absolutely scandalous the statues have been taken.
“It’s the equivalent of stealing your grandmother’s cutlery – they are part of Blackpool’s heritage.
“The word has spread, lots of our customers have been talking about the fact they’ve gone.
“It’s a beautiful park, all the flowers are in bloom and it’s such a shame a huge part of history has been stolen by mindless idiots.”
Police are in the process of investigating the theft.
Mr Gallagher added: “Metal theft is really common but I really hope someone can be brought to account for this.
“This was no small operation so maybe somebody saw something or knows something which can mean these people don’t get away with this.
“I hope they do get replaced but it is hard to know what to replace them with so they are not stolen again or vandalised.”