A MARILYN Monroe statue that became a local landmark and put a smile on customers' faces has been stolen from outside a town’s pub.

Staff at The Anchor in Darwen, had screwed Marilyn to one of their coloured benches around two weeks ago as part of Thwaites’ Pubs in Bloom competition, in which pub bosses had also adorned the outside of the building with flowers.

But in the early hours of Tuesday morning, brazen thieves had obviously fancied themselves some ‘Monkey Business’, and nicked the beloved statue.

Landlord, Lance Montgomery, who bought the blonde bombshell from eBay for a party around two years ago, said his customers loved taking selfies with Marilyn.

She even held punters’ pints for them when she lived in the pool room.

Mr Montgomery, who has run the pub with his wife, Melissa, for seven years, without an ‘itch’, said: “This is the first time anything’s been stolen from the front of the pub.

“Even at Halloween when we put up zombies and Spiderman statues we don’t get anything nicked. It’s really disheartening more than anything.”

Mr Montgomery said the whole thing was captured on CCTV, which has now been handed to the police to assist them with their investigations.

He said: “It happened at about 1.18am. I was woken up by a massive bang and I knew at once what had happened.

“When we looked at the footage, at least three people in a Citroen van could be seen pulling up and helping themselves by ripping her off the bench she was bolted to.

“The van had been driving suspiciously in the area and it had driven up and down and past the pub a few times. They then drove off in the direction of Darwen town centre.

“I always try and do things a bit controversial with the pub and the customers love it, so this isn’t going to stop me in the future, but we just want Marilyn back.”

Anyone with any information about Marilyn’s whereabouts should contact the police on 101 quoting log 0089 of July 30.