"On Friday and Saturday night everybody who wobbles home from the town after a few sherberts seems to gravitate towards that finger, with knickers, brassieres, condoms, whatever." – Sculptor Graham Ibbeson.
A statue of legendary cricket umpire Dickie Bird is to be raised to stop pranksters putting rude items on its finger.
The life-size piece by sculptor Graham Ibbeson was unveiled in 2009 and visited by Prince Charles in Bird's hometown of Barnsley last year.
It shows Bird in his trademark pose – with his raised finger sending a batsman back to the pavilion.
However, it has become a target for drunken revellers who climb up on the plinth to put all sorts of things on the finger from condoms to pumpkins.
Looks like even the Dickie Bird statue in Barnsley was joining in the Hallowe'en festivities yesterday... pic.twitter.com/IeX9Nmio
— Kieran Bestall (@Ramone78) November 1, 2011
Now the plinth will be raised by a further five feet to make it more difficult to vandalise.
Bird himself said he was not too bothered what people did with the statue as long it was not damaged but sculptor Ibbeson has not been happy with the lack of respect shown to the statute.
"On Friday and Saturday night everybody who wobbles home from the town after a few sherberts seems to gravitate towards that finger, with knickers, brassieres, condoms, whatever," he is quoted as saying by the BBC.
"Dickie has been seen occasionally on Saturday morning cleaning the debris off himself, so it needed to be done.
"It's horrible when people are abusing it like that. It is a bit of fun... but it is a bit inappropriate."
Bird added: "I think it's respect they have for you that the only thing they have not done is damage it.
"I do not mind doing it at all. They can take as many photographs as they like but they're climbing on to it and they might fall off."
Ibbeson said the raised statue was unlikely to stop the tradition but would at least make it less frequent.
"We are not going to stop it. What we are going to do is make it a little more difficult.
"We are raising him up where he belongs."
- Dickie Bird
- Graham Ibbeson