Reward offered after sand sculptures battered by bar-wielding intruders

PUBLISHED: 12:16 05 May 2014

Sculptors will now be repairing the damage works.

Sculptors will now be repairing the damage works.

Archant

POOR Gulliver suffered a number of indignities during his Lilliputian travails - but he never lost his nose.

Gulliver's broken nose.Gulliver's broken nose.

Yet that is the sad fate which this week befell a sculpture of Jonathan Swift’s literary traveller, when it was attacked by vandals.

The Gulliver model is one of the centrepieces of this year’s Weston Sand Sculpture Festival unveiled on Weston beach at Easter.

Yet he was one of three sculptures targeted by a group of yobs who broke into the festival on Saturday night and set about the artworks with metal bars.

Fortunately for organisers, the intruders tripped alarms and onsite security teams moved in quickly to prevent further harm.

Damage to the Gulliver sculpture's face is clear to see.Damage to the Gulliver sculpture's face is clear to see.

However, the damage is expected to take days to repair, and costs have been estimated at ‘thousands of pounds’.

Festival project manager Cindy Lap said: “Fortunately, we still have three very talented artists on site this week.

“These professional artists from three different countries were supposed to be working on our demo-blocks within the exhibition creating new pieces of art, but they will now have to spend their time repairing this unnecessary damage.”

Weston’s street wardens also responded quickly when the alarm was raised, and police too have been studying CCTV footage to try to track down the culprits.

Three males have been captured on camera and a close-up photo of the vandals is now being generated – prompting festival organisers to offer a reward to anyone who provides information which leads them to the culprits.

Rachel Stubbs, the event’s resident sculptor, said: “It’s extremely frustrating. I just don’t understand why someone would want to damage our work.

“We spend weeks on the creation of the sculptures, and it just takes seconds to damages them.”

It is not the first time the sculptures have been attacked. A King Kong statue was destroyed during the festival’s debut in 2006, while 2012’s event fell victim to ‘severe vandalism’.

However, organisers are determined that the show go on, and the festival is open as usual from 10am-5pm each day.

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