A Spanish football fan is facing a repair bill running into thousands of pounds for damaging one of London’s most iconic statues as he celebrated Barcelona winning the Champions League.
Westminster Council today said it would seek to recover the full costs of the damage the 24 year old caused to the Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus following his team’s victory over Manchester United.
The London based student was seen by police officers trying to climb the 20ft statue – the capital’s symbol of love for more than 200 years - while fans congregated in the area after last month’s Wembley final.
As he held onto the statue the archer’s string broke and the bow itself was bent out of shape. He was arrested for criminal damage and cautioned after admitting the offence before being released with a warning.
This is the second time in a year that repairs have been made to Eros following football related vandalism. In July 2010 it was broken by fans celebrating Spain’s victory in the football World Cup.
Westminster Council today confirmed it would be contacting the culprit to arrange payment which could cost up to £6,000 to replace the broken bow.
If he refuses to pay, the council said it would pursue the case through the civil courts.
Cllr Robert Davis, Westminster Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Built Environment, said: “This was yobbish behaviour, the kind that earns football fans a bad name.
“We want sports fans to enjoy their visits to London, but we will not tolerate loutishness which in this case has led to one of London’s most iconic monuments being damaged.
“Public money shouldn’t be wasted clearing up after wanton acts of vandalism. That is why we will be seeking to recover any funds we spend on repairing the statue from the individual concerned.”
Created by sculptor Alfred Gilbert, the Eros statue was erected in 1892 to commemorate Anthony Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury whose work for the poor led to calls for a memorial in his honour.