The Lincoln Imp Trail will wrap up a week ahead of schedule on Monday, September 13.
Organisers Lincoln BIG said they made the decision to take the imps off the streets of Lincoln early to protect them from any further vandalism incidents.
With the auction only three weeks away, the risk of further incidents could not be taken, they said.
The main trail imps that do not require any repairs will be moved to Lincoln Castle on Monday, September 13.
The sculptures can then be viewed along the Avenue of Lincoln Castle from Saturday, September 18, between 10 am and 5 pm until September 22.
Those that need repair will join the farewell event as soon as possible.
Sarah Loftus, Chief Executive of Lincoln BIG said: “We are having to move the imps out of the city a little earlier than expected due to the level of vandalism.
“This is a great shame, but some need repairing before they go into the Castle for the farewell event. Please come and say goodbye to our Imps between 18 – 22 September.”
As part of the Lincolnshire Day celebrations on Friday 1 October 2021, the Imp Trail Auction will take place at Lincoln Cathedral, where they will be sold by professional auctioneer Ian Walter from JH Walter. Tickets for the auction, priced £15, are on sale here.
Vandalism and damage on Lincoln Imp Trail
The writing was on the wall. Lincoln BIG said on Thursday this week that three of the sculptures that suffered damage on this year’s Lincoln Imp Trail were unlikely to return to the streets of the city before the end of the trail.
The news came after the Post Impressionist imp, designed by Susan Webber and sponsored by Ruddocks, was found with scuff marks and damage at its spot near the Royal William IV pub on Brayford Pool on Wednesday.
It’s believed that a delivery lorry bumped into the sculpture to cause the damage, and event organisers Lincoln BIG have taken it in to see if it can be fixed.
This incident made it the fourth imp on the trail to require fixing.
The first imp damaged was The Community Imp on Guildhall Street, which was vandalised on July 21 by 20-year-old Bradley Pennell from Scunthorpe, after a drunken night out. He pleaded guilty in court and has been ordered to pay damages.
This sculpture had to be taken off the streets for repair and temporarily replaced by a red sculpture, but has now been put back in its place on Guildhall Street.
The next imp to be removed from the trail was The Running Imp at the junction for St Mary’s Street with the pedestrianised High Street, but organisers Lincoln BIG said this was just for some TLC.
That was replaced by “Goldie the Imp” which now looks likely to stay in place of the Running Imp for the remainder of the trail.
Then, in late August, the Footie Imp at the lower High Street was found vandalised late at night. This too has been removed from its podium for repairs and will more than likely not be back in time for the end of the event.
45-year-old Stewart Tomlinson from Grimsby has been charged with criminal damage in connection to this incident, and will appear at Lincoln Magistrates Court on September 16.