SEETHING Scarborough residents have erupted in anger at the “deplorable” attack on the town’s huge North Bay statue.
The callous act caused great fury among members of the public who have united together to call for tough action to punish the culprits.
A reward pot currently stands at £1,650 to provide a catalyst for information leading to a conviction, with police reiterating an appeal for help to catch those responsible.
Scarborough Council bosses have also confirmed police are trawling their CCTV footage in an attempt to identify the individuals involved.
Jack Stephenson, from Shoreline Suncruisers, has put £200 forward to help bring the culprits to justice.
He said: “It was a magnificent gesture by Maureen Robinson to bring the statue to Scarborough and I just cannot believe someone would do this.
“It is simply appalling that someone could damage it like that and we all feel so strongly about it.”
Robert Breaks, who has the Greenworld shop in Market Vaults, also offered £200 towards the reward fund.
He said: “It’s terrible to see people doing things like that.
“I drive round Marine Drive every day of the week and the statue is a marvellous feature.
“The vandalism is absolutely disgraceful.”
Nick Ingham, owner of Compass Gym, in Barry’s Lane, has offered £150 for information leading to a conviction.
He added: “We put a photo of Freddie on our Facebook page and have had a huge response.
“There have been about 70 comments and everyone is disgusted by it.”
Hundreds of people visited Marine Drive over the weekend to take in the giant spectacle, and were appalled at the damage.
Anne Bailey, of Sandybed Crescent, was walking along Marine Drive with her friend Marian Towart and stopped to take a picture of the sculpture.
She said: “It is a lovely statue for Scarborough and for someone to do that is absolutely deplorable.
“It is a gorgeous thing and it seems that nothing is sacred anymore unfortunately.”
John Williams, who also lives in Scarborough, said he was disappointed the statue, which carries great historical meaning, had been targeted in such a callous manner.
He said: “It is quite an impressive thing to look at and it is so lifelike to.
“I cannot understand why anyone would do such a thing because when you read the plaque you see there is so much more to it that just a statue.
“It is more than just a piece of metal but it was desecrated by someone.”
Alistair and Dianne Stanyon had visited the town from Bridlington to see the sculpture and were upset by the damage.
Mr Stanyon said: “The statue is a good idea and to have some seminal art in our resorts is great.”
Mrs Stanyon added: “Unfortunately you will always get the minority who spoil it for the majority.”
Cllr David Jeffels, Scarborough Council’s portfolio holder for Tourism and Culture, oversaw the authority take ownership of the statue from Maureen Robinson when paid £50,000 to bring it to the town in November.
He said: “I’m angry that such kindness and generosity has been defaced in this way and hope whoever is responsible is caught.
“Fortunately, the quick actions of our graffiti removal team may have prevented any permanent damage.
“This act of idiocy will not stop the council from pursuing a heritage and arts trail and improving the environment for residents and visitors.”
Andy Skelton, Scarborough Council’s Head of Environmental Services, confirmed they were working with the police to use CCTV in the case.
He added: “We do have a CCTV camera around the bay that can see the location of the sculpture.
“We’re not sure how useful it will be, but the police are currently reviewing it as part of their investigations.”
Council bosses added the sculpture will have a slight difference in colour for the next six weeks as the re-oxidation process of the metal takes place.