Bid to steal Eric Morecambe statue


Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A man has been arrested after an attempt was made to steal a statue of comedian Eric Morecambe.

Police were called to Marine Road Central in Morecambe at about noon today following reports that the statue had been damaged.

Lancashire Constabulary said it is thought that someone attempted to cut through one of the legs of the statue.

The council has now removed the statue and the area has been fenced off.

Sgt John Bond said: “We are in the early stages of our investigation and I would urge anyone who may have seen what happened or has any information to get in touch with police on 101 quoting log number 0325 of 11th October.”

A 32-year-old man from Morecambe has been arrested on suspicion of attempted theft and remains in custody.

The Queen unveiled the bronze figure on the promenade in July 1999 and was joined by Morecambe’s widow, Joan, and his children, Gary, Gail and Steven.

The statue, which took sculptor Graham Ibbeson six years to complete, featured some of the famous sayings of the comedian.

It captures the comedian in his famous Bring Me Sunshine pose with one hand raised and a leg cocked.

The famous Morecambe and Wise TV theme tune was played over loudspeakers as thousands of fans attended the unveiling.

Morecambe, born John Eric Bartholomew, was born in Morecambe in 1926 and used his home town for his stage surname.

He died on May 28, 1984 after collapsing on stage with a heart attack.

Speaking at the statue ceremony, his widow said: “I think Eric would have been staggered. You think in terms of buildings or streets being named after you, but a statue? Not for a comic.

“Now he will be remembered for all time on Morecambe front.”

The statue is a popular tourist attraction with many posing for photographs next to it in the Bring Me Sunshine pose.

It was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor this year due to outstanding feedback from the website’s users.

The vandalism of the statue prompted a swift response on Twitter.

The British Comedy Society tweeted: “We’re very distressed to hear this news. What an awful thing to have happened.”

The official Morecambe FC Twitter feed said: “Unbelievable that the Eric Morecambe statue has been vandalised. Let’s get him back where he belongs. #Legend”, while Morecambe and Lunesdale MP tweeted: “Awful news of vandalism of the Eric Morecambe statue. I hope that the council can get the statue back up on the promenade where it belongs.”

Only the statue’s standing foot remains after the rest of it was placed face down in the back of a council van and driven away for repairs.

Mark Cullinan, chief executive of Lancaster City Council, told the Morecambe Visitor newspaper: “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.

“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.

“Already we’ve seen some anger from tourists and local people, and I think the general feeling is one of disbelief.”

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

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