He was supposed to stand proudly as a constant reminder of Leyland’s iconic past, but Hough Lane’s bronze man looks a little less grand after vandals struck and stole his precious pipe.
The statue, installed as part of a £300,000 regeneration of the town centre, has been one of the town centre’s main attractions since it was unveiled in March.
But less than two months on and yobs have twice tried to steal the statue, and last week they broke off his pipe and damaged his lip.
Traders have hit out at the yobs who carried out the ‘thoughtless’ damage.
Chris Coppull, owner of Thorntons on Hough Lane, said: “It is just a sign of the times that you cannot leave anything about without somebody wanting to destroy it.
“Hough Lane is starting to look nice and it is terrible that people now go and do this.
“There are some CCTV cameras on the market but I don’t think it extends to where the statue is.”
Security measures were stepped up at the site after two attempts earlier in the year to steal the statue. This included strengthening its base after yobs swung on it and tried to loosen it from its foundations.
The statue portrays a Leyland Motors worker leaving the former North Works site, which is now Leyland Market.
Tom Booth, 28, who owns coffee shop Bean Drinking, said: “I cannot believe that it has only been there a few months and someone has decided to damage it.”
Coun Derek Forrest, who represents the Leyland Central ward at South Ribble Council, said: “I am really angry that someone feels so little about their history and decides to do this. The person who did this exerted a lot of force to prise it off.
“I cannot understand why they have done it because the pipe is no value to anyone.”
Council officials say they have not got a timeline over when or if they are going to replace the pipe.
Coun Phil Smith, cabinet member for regeneration, leisure and healthy communities, said: “Everybody is disappointed, upset and angry at whoever carried out this act of mindless vandalism.
“The pipe was made from a reinforced steel bar which was set into the frame of the statue, so it would’ve taken a considerable force to break it off.
“It was only coated in bronze so would not have been of great monetary value.”