Vandalism fury

John Belshaw, of the Friends of Douglas Valley Group with the vandalised wooden sculpture of a kingfisher at Hilton Street

John Belshaw, of the Friends of Douglas Valley Group with the vandalised wooden sculpture of a kingfisher at Hilton Street

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RESIDENTS have reacted with anger after a sculpture at a popular Wigan beauty spot was vandalised.

The beak was deliberately snapped off a giant wooden kingfisher, which has been erected in Bottling Wood along the River Douglas nature trail.

Police and a local school are investigating after a witness claimed to have seen the act of criminal damage’s being carried out by a boy.

And today community stalwart, John Belshaw, an active member of Friends of Douglas valley, expressed his distress that once again efforts to improve the area have been counter-acted with mindless vandalism. A notice board has also been recently damaged.

Mr Belshaw said: “A resident had seen a youth sit on top of the kingfisher and when he told him to get off, he verbally abused him and broke off the beak.

“He must have used a lot of force. He has ruined the kingfisher’s face.

“The witness saw the school uniform and spoke to the deputy headteacher. The police were called in and the school are now dealing with it, so I will leave it to them.

“But it really angers me and it is devastating.

“We have spent a lot of time working in the area because I really want to make a difference but then some morons try to ruin it.”

The sculpture, created by artist Tim Burgess, will cost around £700 to replace.

It was installed along with an owl, trout and frog, at the end of 2010, funded by the Awards for All Big Lottery as part of work done by Swinley Residents’ Group, Friends of Douglas Valley, ward councillors and the community payback team to improve the trail.

This is not the first time the area has been targeted by vandals. Graffiti has been sprayed on the footbridge and an Ordnance Survey map, signs have been trashed and dog fouling bags have been ripped from their dispensers and thrown on the ground.

Friday’s Wigan Evening Post also counted the cost of borough vandalism over the last year, which included beheading a Pierside statue.