VANDALS have damaged a unique Scarborough landmark.
The central part of the star map, which is situated on tarmac on the site of the former outdoor swimming pool in the South Bay, has been torn up leaving unsightly debris in its place.
John Harper, chairman and founder of Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society, designed the star map.
He said: “It’s a great shame, but unfortunately anything that is a bit different and out of the way is probably going to be a target for vandals.
“It is very disappointing because a lot of work went into it.”
Adrian Perry, chairman of Scarborough and District Civic Society, added: “I don’t see why people just can’t leave things alone.
“It is a nice bit of equipment and it’s a shame someone has done this. It’s unique and was specifically made for that location.
“I’m not sure how many star maps there are in the UK but there are very few.
“Let’s hope that action is taken quickly to repair it. There is a risk that if the metal isn’t replaced more damage could be done to the other strips.”
After the 15ft deep outdoor pool was closed in 1989, the area was transformed into an outdoor public space designed to accommodate community exhibitions, displays and activities.
It took 60,000 tons of rubble to fill in the pool, and the illuminated star map, made up of 42 fibre optic lights that pick out a section of the night sky’s constellations, took pride of place.
The project cost £400,000 with funding coming from Scarborough Council and Yorkshire Forward.
It was switched on for the first time in January 2006 by deputy mayor at the time Jim Preston at a ‘star party,’ although it has rarely been illuminated since.
Members of the Scarborough and Ryedale and the Whitby and District Astronomical Societies gave members of the public the chance to do some stargazing through telescopes at its unveiling.