A CONTROVERSIAL artwork on Blackpool prom has become a smash hit with vandals again, just days after being repaired and put back after an earlier attack.

The 25ft metal gas tank, containing a whale skeleton and neon lights, was taken away from New South Promenade in September for £6,000 worth of repairs after vandals smashed portholes in an attack last summer. The word 'eyesore' was also daubed on the side in a separate attack.

But less than three weeks after owners Blackpool Borough Council returned the £29,315 Frankenstein Project to the prom, vandals again smashed four porthole windows just after New Year, causing an estimated £700 worth of damage.

Police are now investigating the vandalism, and the cost of repairs will be met by the council's South Promenade artworks maintenance budget, a council spokeswoman said.

Councillor David Owen, Blackpool's portfolio holder for culture and leisure, said: "We are very disturbed that this art work has been vandalised once again and will be reviewing our security arrangements.

"The portholes had been made with heavy duty glass and it is such a shame that public property is being damaged in this way by a self-appointed vandal."

When the artwork was resited just before Christmas, Cllr Owen said the council took a 'dim view' of such vandalism and would 'aggressively pursue' vandals.

Since the council commissioned The Frankenstein Project, created by artist Tony Stallard in 2001, the artwork has provoked more critical reaction than any of the other features in the 2km exhibition along New South Promenade, including a giant mirrorball and boulders lit with fibre optics.

Reader Marion Keane e-mailed: "I was so pleased when I thought the ugly tank had gone and so disappointed to see it back. I have yet to meet anyone who likes any of the art work, except perhaps for the mirror ball."

Charles Thomas of Elm Avenue, Blackpool, wrote: "Frankly the only art to be seen in Blackpool can be ascribed to a tram ride along the promenade during the lights. Blackpool Borough Council however ignore any comments relative to the monstrosities they exhibit."

Dick Perry, of Sawley Avenue, St Annes, added: "The object you show in the picture is a pressure vessel, found in gas works, oil rigs and various other similar manufacturing plants. It is not and never will be a 'work of art'."

Another Citizen reader told us: "It may be art form for an inner city but Blackpool is more famous for the stars of the circus (Charlie Caroli) and other well known people."

And Fylde resident Leslie Garratt told The Citizen: "Perhaps opinions might change if the 'Old Boiler' had a serious use. I suggest removing the glass from the portholes, building a screen around the structure and using it as a urinal!"