Museum Security Network

Cottam, Lancashire UK: Fury as bronze statues stolen from city estate

Fury as bronze statues stolen from city estate

GONE: Cottam resident Ken Youde surveys the spot off Greenside, Cottam, where the statues once stood, and below, the wild boar before it was taken

Published on Mon Aug 02 08:58:21 BST 2010

Thieves have stolen two pieces of bronze artwork from the middle of a Preston housing estate.

A hacksaw is believed to have been taken to the legs of the wild boar and two hounds which were a familiar sight for residents in Cottam, Preston.

It is the second time the pieces have been taken from the village green off Greenside in the past few years.

It is not yet known if it will be possible to replace them this time.

Retired high school teacher Ken Youde, 58, who lives in The Gables with wife Elaine, also 58, said: “I bet they’re probably melted down now sadly.

“They’d obviously been sawn off at the legs. They must have come at night with hacksaws.

“It’s such a shame. We’ve shown friends them as we’ve walked round the area. They were a local feature.”

The statues were commissioned by the Commission for New Towns and sculpted by Dutch-born Marjan Wouda who lives in Darwen, East Lancashire.

Coun Julie Buttle, who represents the Lea ward, which includes Cottam, said she understood the pieces were worth several thousands each.

She said: “It’s been severed, leaving a sorry looking stump of a trotter and a paw.

“It’s not an easy theft to make and it’s quite expensive as well. They must have known what they were doing because they cut it from the base.

“You have to walk round the estate to find it. They’re not visible from the road at all.

“It’s a little bit off the beaten track so it’s got to be someone who knows it’s there.

“It was just something you used to come across and it was quite nice. It was like a focal point.”

A reward was offered when the dog part of the sculpture, worth £4,000, was stolen in 1998.

Vandals and thieves have targeted a number of pieces of public artwork across Preston.

Most famously, the 16ft ‘Ribble Piddler’, which used to stand close to Tom Benson Way, had its toes chopped off before it was removed due to decay.

The archway-style ‘Air’ sculpture, a landmark off Savick Way on the Savick estate, was damaged “beyond repair” last year and the owl on the Andertons Way roundabout was covered in white paint.

It is believed the bronze statues were taken during the weekend of July 17 and 18.

The incident has been reported to the police.

Anyone with any information should contact police on 0845 1 253545 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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