Beach sculpture daubed with paint

OPPOSING sides in the dispute over a sculpture on a Suffolk beach have united to condemn the second attack on it by vandals in a week.Pinkish-red paint has been daubed over Maggi Hambling's scallop shell artwork on Aldeburgh beach, with an ill-spelt Christmas message: “Hapy Xmas Tin Can”.

OPPOSING sides in the dispute over a sculpture on a Suffolk beach have united to condemn the second attack on it by vandals in a week.

Pinkish-red paint has been daubed over Maggi Hambling's scallop shell artwork on Aldeburgh beach, with an ill-spelt Christmas message: “Hapy Xmas Tin Can”. Yellow, white and purple balloons were also attached to the work.

The latest graffiti, discovered yesterday , is the fourth time Miss Hambling's tribute to composer Benjamin Britten, which was unveiled more than a year ago, has been targeted.

A campaign continues in the town to have the sculpture moved to another location, but the work's owner, Suffolk Coastal District Council, has made it clear it will stay put.


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Campaigners Voices of the People, who want it moved, have condemned the vandalism.

Artist Maggi Hambling said: “Presumably it amuses the vandals to vandalise. For the rest of us, it's becoming deeply boring and expensive.”

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Town mayor Michael Good added: “It's absolutely appalling. Each time that this happens the district council has to send a team to clean it up. This costs money from out of the rates - in other words, we all have to subsidise their mindless vandalism.

“If these criminals think that they are helping the Voices of the People action group they could not be more wrong. No authority can be seen to be giving way to criminals so each time the scallop is attacked the more likely that it will stay put.”

He urged anyone who could shed light on the incidents to contact Leiston police or write to him, anonymously if necessary, at the Moot Hall.

Town clerk Andrew Harris also condemned the latest attack and said: “I hope the perpetrators get caught and get suitably punished.”

Adnams chairman Simon Loftus, one of the co-ordinators of the sculpture project, said: “This is completely unacceptable, whatever people think of the sculpture.”

His views were echoed by David Gordon, chairman of Voices of the People, who said the vandalism was a “distraction from the real issue”.

He added: “It would be helpful if Simon Loftus met with us to discuss alternative locations which have a lesser risk of vandalism.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Coastal District Council said: “We'll now have to spend more money to remove the paint yet again. This does not change the council's final decision on the position of the sculpture.”

A police spokeswoman appealed for anyone with information to contact PC Paul Downey on 01986 835300.

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