Vandal attacks landmark statue in grandad’s garden

A vandal has caused hundreds of pounds of damage to a grandfather’s landmark garden in South Tyneside.

For the past 10 years the larger-than-life statues of comedians Laurel and Hardy have had pride of place in the front garden of Stan Yanetta’s home in Heaton Gardens, South Shields.

Stan Yanetta surveys the damage

Stan Yanetta surveys the damage

The statues have attracted lots of laughs from passersby with many stopping to have the picture taken with them.

But the grandfather-of-four was left angered when he returned home on Tuesday morning to find the statue of Oliver Hardy lying smashed on the ground.

When he checked his CCTV he saw the fibreglass statue had been toppled over deliberately - snapped off at the ankles.

Mr Yanetta, said: “I have had these statues for 10 years and I’ve had no problem with them at all. Then this drunken idiot comes along and does this.

I checked the CCTV and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Stan Yanetta

“You see him test the first one and then when he can’t move that he goes onto the second one. They cost me £500 each when I first bought them, so they are not cheap.

“When I came home and saw the statue on the ground smashed, I checked the CCTV and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

The CCTV has been posted on social media in the hope the person responsible will be identified.

The footage shows a man walking up to the first statue and pushing it. Unable to move it, he then turns his attention to the second statue. The statue is then pushed over before the man runs away.

The vandal damages the statue

The vandal damages the statue

Mr Yanetta, who owns Stan’s Autos in Commercial Road, South Shields, added: “I’m a big Laurel and Hardy fan. I’ve got all their videos. That’s why I bought them.

“They became a talking point and the kids love them. In the summer, you can see minibuses stopping so people can have their pictures taken with them.

“I’m now speaking with a mate of mine to see about getting a box made, to strengthen the bottom of them.”

Most people in the town will recognise the 54-year-old’s home, as its garden is packed with statues of characters like Laurel and Hardy and King Kong.

Stan Yanetta with the damaged statue

Stan Yanetta with the damaged statue

At Christmas and Halloween, the grandfather goes all out with his decorations to entertain youngsters, with lighting displays and decorations.

Mr Yanetta has also used his statues and flair for turning his garden into an attracion for families to enjoy, to help raise cash for charities in South Tyneside.