VANDALS who targeted an iconic piece of artwork on South Shields seafront have been condemned.
Public art was unveiled at Littlehaven Promenade and Sea Wall this time last year as part of a £5m scheme to revitalise the area.
In particular nationally-acclaimed artist Stephen Broadbent created his ‘Eye’ and ‘Sail’ sculptures at the location.
They are lit with controllable floodlights and have a range of colours for different occasions, proving a visual and artistic delight for visitors to the area.
But in recent days, the ‘Sail’ sculpture at the southern part of the site was targeted by what are thought to have been young vandals.
They used pen or ink to scrawl their names along the side of the artwork.
Today a South Tyneside Council spokesperson expressed “deep disappointment” at the act of vandalism.
And an appeal has been launched for anyone who may know the culprits to contact the local authority with information.
Tracking down those responsible has been made a little easier – by the eight names left behind, which include Alex, Luke, Kitty, Chloe, Louis and Kieron.
As a result of the attack the council had to call in a specialist cleaning team to remove the graffiti. Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “We are deeply disappointed that the Sail has been damaged in this way.
“This is just one of a number of bespoke pieces of public art which have helped our new Littlehaven Promenade and Seawall to win a number of awards since it opened last spring.
“It is such a shame that a small minority of people have chosen to deface this new attraction on our stunning new seafront.
“The piece needed specialist care and attention. We arranged for the professional graffiti team within the Handy Estates team to clean it off within hours of the issue being brought to our attention.
“We would urge the public to support us and report any incidents of anti-social behaviour to our Customer Contact Centre on (0191) 427 7000.”
The new promenade allows residents and visitors to enjoy a coastal walk with spectacular views.
The work also incorporates a much-needed sea defence along a 500-metre stretch between the South Groyne and the South Pier of the River Tyne.
The transformation has proved a huge success and also includes seating along the full length of the promenade and a new coastal park with trees and shrubs.