A NEW statue that sits as the centrepiece of a town’s market square was vandalised with obscene graffiti.

The peregrine falcon in Darwen’s newly-revamped £1.5million market square had, by Thursday morning, been sprayed with blue graffiti.

Large letters with a rude message about the police were scrawled on the back of the bird.

Posting on social media, one Facebook user said: “We can’t have anything in this town.”

Darwen town councillor Roy Davies said he knew it would only be a matter of time until something like this happened.

Cllr Davies said: “There’s cameras on the market square so we’ll hopefully be able to identify who the culprit is.

“There’s always one idiot going up and down with a spray can who’s going to spray it.

“It’s ridiculous, as we’ve got people trying to help out and Keep Darwen Tidy do a great job, and it’s a shame that there’s always one idiot who drags it down.

“It cost such a lot of money, and I think it’s alright, but we knew something like this would happen.”

Comments on social media continued to pour in with some users saying it’s not the town but the individuals who think it’s OK to act inappropriately.

One user commented: “The local authorities and the police need to be more aware of what is happening in the town with no police station and none on patrol.

“Every night youths around town centre causing chaos and vandalism. Why is nothing being done?”

Later on Thursday afternoon, leader of volunteer group, Keep Darwen Tidy, Janet Pearce, had been down to the market square and helped to remove the graffiti.

Since it was installed, the statue, which was designed and created by renowned artist Liam Hopkins, who has work showcased in galleries around the world, has divided opinion in the town.

Some feels it is a true landmark while others feel it was a waste of money.

Councillor Paul Browne said: “This peregrine falcon right in the middle of the market square is an absolute disgrace.

“I would like to know how much it cost for that so-called statue to be made and installed there.

“It does not do justice to the town at all and now it has been fenced off because people were climbing all over it.”

However, Councillor Kevin Connor was the first to jump to its defence saying he liked the falcon as it had got people talking and was attracting people to town.