A man has been arrested after an attempt was made at stealing the statue of well-loved comedian Eric Morecambe. The bronze statue has pride of place in the Lancashire seaside resort of Morecambe, the TV funnyman’s hometown from which he took his stage name.
Lancashire Constabulary said Saturday they believed someone had tried to saw through the tourist attraction’s standing leg. A 32-year-old man from Morecambe has been arrested on suspicion of attempted theft and remains in custody.
Comedian Morecambe, who drew huge television audiences as part of the Morecambe and Wise double-act, died in 1984. Queen Elizabeth unveiled the statue in 1999. Sculptor Graham Ibbeson took six years to complete the work, which depicts Morecambe with a hand in the air and one leg cocked in his classic “Bring Me Sunshine” pose.
Only the statue’s standing foot remains after the rest of it was driven away by Lancaster City Council for repairs.
“When we got to the site it was clear someone had sawed through most of Eric’s leg and then left him like that. When we inspected it we knew we couldn’t repair it at the site,” the council’s chief executive Mark Cullinan.
“We’re removing him in a van and taking him to a safe and secure place, and will work with the sculptor to get him back as soon as possible,” he told the Morecambe Visitor newspaper.
“Already we’ve seen some anger from tourists and local people, and I think the general feeling is one of disbelief.”
The North-West of England has already lost a number of important artifacts to metal theft. In 2012 the memorial to two children killed in the 1993 IRA bomb attack in Warrington was stolen. It was believed to have been melted down for just £30.