A 20-year-old man has been arrested at a city hotel on suspicion of criminal damage after one of the imps on the Lincoln Imp Trail was beheaded.
The Community Imp was one of the 30 sculptures on the Lincoln Imp Trail throughout the city, but was vandalised at around 4.15am on Wednesday, July 21 on Guildhall Street.
Officers found the damaged sculpture on Guildhall Street near to the Stonebow in Lincoln during patrols of the city centre, and worked with the CCTV team at the City of Lincoln Council to trace the suspect back to his hotel.
A 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, police confirmed.
He remains in custody at the time of writing.
Sergeant Paul Mayo of Lincolnshire Police said: “It is not only really disappointing for everyone hoping to enjoy the trail that one if its attractions aimed at celebrating art and culture has been marred by this act of criminal damage, it is also absolutely unacceptable.
“Whenever we have an issue with criminal damage, we will do everything in our power to find those responsible and prosecute them.”
A 20-year-old man has been arrested after one of the Lincoln Imp sculptures had its head removed in the early hours of this morning (21st July). We worked with local CCTV to find the suspect. https://t.co/k6nELY1c3f pic.twitter.com/abbA8w9izT
— Lincolnshire Police (@LincsPolice) July 21, 2021
It had been designed by freelance artist Sian Bristow and a local schoolgirl, and the imp was supposed to be a celebration of the hard work of key workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The imp has been valued at up to £20,000 and was going to be put to auction at the end of the trail to raise money for St Barnabas Hospice.
The news was met with fury across the community, including from event organisers Lincoln Business Improvement Group and the charity partner of the event, St Barnabas.
Lincoln BIG CEO Sarah Loftus, who organised the trail, told The Lincolnite: “I’m fuming, all the hard work that’s gone into this, it’s mindless idiots that do something like this.
“What possesses them to think it’s acceptable? The trail had been putting a smile on people’s faces.
“After everything the key workers have done, to target this one is shocking.
“The problem is, we don’t know what to do with the trail now – we don’t know if it’s fixable.
“The damage caused is about £15,000 to £20,000, when you add up everything.
“This has had a massive impact. We will take them to court and we will do whatever it takes to recoup the cost.”
Chris Wheway, Chief Executive at St Barnabas Hospice said: “I am shocked to see the vandalism of the Community Imp in Lincoln city centre. This is disappointing for the child who has designed it, the artist and trail organisers.
“We hope the damage made to this imp can be repaired, as in these difficult times we are reliant on this vital fundraising.
“As the trail’s charity partner, any funds raised from the trail will go directly to St Barnabas Hospice to support the people of Lincolnshire with life-limiting or terminal illnesses.
“We are hopeful that this will be a one-off incident and that people continue to give generously to help our vulnerable patients as they complete the trail.”
Anyone who was in the area and has any information is being asked to contact Lincolnshire Police by calling 101 or emailing [email protected], quoting incident 53 of July 21.