Police fish for clues as net closes on the one that got away

Fish sculpture after it was attacked by vandals

Fish sculpture after it was attacked by vandals

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Police have cast the net to catch vandals who filleted a giant fish sculpture at a popular beauty spot.

Nature lovers have been urged to help hook the “mindless” yobs who destroyed a £5,000 piece of chainsaw art featuring a six-foot whopper.

The leaping fish, part of an outdoor classroom for schoolchildren at Farington Lodges Nature Reserve near Leyland, was commissioned by South Ribble Council in 2011.

But police were called in this week after horrified locals rang in to report the one that got away. Officers discovered the sculpture, created by celebrated artist Mick Burns, had been attacked, with the fish cut from its mount and carried off.

“It is such a shame that these mindless vandals have chosen to act in this way, destroying a fantastic sculpture that has been enjoyed by so many people,” said council leader Coun Margaret Smith.

“We are always working with our communities to create improvements in their areas and these people, who have shown complete disregard and respect for this great community facility, are thankfully in the minority.

“Unfortunately the sculpture is beyond repair and we will not be able to replace it in the short term as it takes time to commission and carve such a piece of art.

“We will have a think about what our next steps will be. But for the time being, we are working with police to find the people who did this and would urge anybody who has any information to please contact the police.”

The sculpture was created four years ago to transform the site into an outdoor classroom to allow youngsters to get closer to their subjects. The revamp was part of an arts trail with visitor facilities.