An owl sculpture that formed part of a wildlife art bench at a park has been removed for repair after it was attacked by vandals.
The bench, installed two months ago, was carved from a tree that had naturally fallen in Sconce and Devon Park. It included sculptures of an owl and a squirrel.
Schoolchildren helped with the design before the bench was placed where the tree had stood by the banks of the River Devon.
Mr Barrington Randle, co-ordinator for walking group Barnbygate Strollers, was one of the people alerted to the damage while the group was on a health walk in the park.
“An owl on the end of the bench has been struck, kicked or pulled so that the wood cracked. The carving was in danger of coming away,” he said.
“This is mindless vandalism like at the disabled fishing platform that was destroyed by fire several weeks ago.
“Too many people don’t seem to take pride in the town or the environment these days.
“Why do these people go out of their way to cause damage to things that give so much pleasure to so many people?”
'Much-loved feature of the park'.
A spokesperson for Newark and Sherwood District Council, which owns Sconce and Devon Park, said: “A lot of hard work and thought went into creating this bench sculpture with local schoolchildren involved in its design.
“It has become a much-loved feature of the park. It is upsetting and disappointing that someone should carry out such an act of vandalism.
“We have temporarily removed the owl while we sort out the repairs and have reported the matter to the police.”
Mrs Lesley King and her husband, John, of Bottesford, who are regular visitors to the park with their dog, Poppy, said they had only recently remarked on how lovely the bench was.
Mrs King said “It’s a shame when hard work had gone into the bench.
“You would not expect someone to do something like this.
“You can’t have anything nice these days. People were admiring the bench and then some have disrespected it.”
The project was funded by the Greenwood Community Forest team.