Residents have condemned the mindless yobs responsible for the latest vandalism of a well-known statue celebrating Wigan’s industrial past.
The Bargee, one of a number of sculptures at Wigan Pier, was attacked with the top of its head and cap being removed.
The scalped statue, which faces The Orwell pub, was spotted by Gordon Graham as he was enjoying a regular run along the canal towpath.
He was so incensed by the senseless action that he took photos and placed them on Facebook, where they attracted a chorus of condemnation from indignant Wiganers.
Mr Graham says he is particularly concerned that the size and weight of the statue means it is unlikely to have been a spur-of-the-moment act of spite.
He said: “I think it’s absolutely disgraceful. Somebody has obviously gone out and done this on purpose.
I think it’s absolutely disgraceful. Someone has obviously gone out and done this on purposeGordon Graham
“It’s just scandalous. You read all the time about this stupid, wanton vandalism. I don’t see what joy somebody gets out of ripping the head off a statue.
“For a lot of people they bring back memories and they are nice things to look at. I spoke to a couple walking down the canal and they said it was a shame. I go running along the canal and it is really nice now with great views.
“When I was a kid I never broke anything. It just wasn’t done, even though I came from a tough area of Scotland.
“It’s just infuriating. If someone went round to their house and ripped the gate off at their front door they wouldn’t be very happy.
“I don’t think you will ever stop this vandalism because some people are just thick.”
Mr Graham said he first spotted the damage last week and returned on Monday to take pictures in order to raise awareness of the issue.
His photographs caused a storm on a local Facebook group, with more than 100 comments being posted.
Carol Farmer wrote: “Awful! I thought they were installing cctv in this area because of vandalism to the statues previously?”
However, other people struck a more cautious note, suggesting that attention-seeking may have been a reason for the vandalism.
The statues have previously attracted the unwanted attentions of yobs. A serious spate of criminal damage in 2009 ended with one sculpture being found face down in the canal and another effigy of a millworker was decapitated in 2011.
Originally four sculptures were dotted around the pier area, representing working-class Wiganers including miners and pit brow lasses.
They were created by Nottingham-based artist Phil Songhurst.
Wigan Council has condemned the latest outbreak of vandalism.