THERE was outrage today after an iconic piece of artwork became the latest victim of Fylde coast metal thieves.
One of two sculptures on Blackpool Promenade created by acclaimed artist Sir Peter Blake has been attacked.
The bronze artwork – part of the £100,000 Life Is A Circus installation – is believed to have been targeted by metal thieves.
The second sculpture has now been removed by the council to protect it. It comes just weeks after three historic statues were stolen from Stanley Park. Raiders struck at The Italian Gardens on July 31.
Sir Peter, best known as the creator of the world famous Beatles album cover Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, unveiled his two sculptures opposite the Pleasure Beach in 2004.
Elaine Smith, chairman of the Blackpool Civic Trust, said she was sickened by the latest attack on the town’s public art.
She said: “I cannot believe this has happened.
“These statues have not been in place as long as some things, but they are still a huge part of our heritage.
“Thankfully the council has managed to remove one of them to safety.”
The bronzes cost £100,000 when they were put in place using funding from the North West Development Agency. They were the eighth addition to the Great Promenade Show which includes a number of installations along the seafront including the Mirror Ball.
When he unveiled his work, Sir Peter said he was “very excited to think so many people will see the work when they visit Blackpool.”
Coun Graham Cain, Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture, said: “We have proactively removed and safely stored both statues so they are not targeted again by these vandals.
“We will have to discuss with Sir Peter Blake the best way for us to replace these sculptures so that the enjoyment of the people who see the art is not ruined. It would also be prudent for us to replace the statues in a way that they will not become another target.
“The people who are responsible for these acts of vandalism and theft may think that they are making a small amount of money but the cost that they are causing to the local community is much larger.
“We are working with the police to protect our property from vandals but that does not take away any responsibility from the culprits. We ask that residents remain vigilant and should they ever know anything about thefts then they shouldn’t hesitate to inform the police.”
Blackpool Police said they were investigating the attack.
Other tourist attractions in the resort - including the Model Village - have fallen victim to metal thieves over the last few months.