Mixed howls of anguish and derision have greeted the disappearance of the recently installed wooden sculpture from Bellevue Crescent Gardens. This was the scene earlier today. 

Locals became aware of the squinty-eyed owl’s removal early on Sunday morning.

Most were mystified, but a crushed crocus and line of woodchips leading from park to kerbside suggested to some that it had been hoiked out and driven away in a hurry. Possibly by international art thieves working to order.

Spurtle today checked with a Council spokesperson, who had an alternative explanation. The owl had been ‘vandalised and knocked down’ at some point over the weekend, and was then swiftly removed for safekeeping by officials.

Controversial bird

As reported in Issue 183, the owl has divided opinion across Broughton. Some locals describe it as, for example, ‘really sweet’ and ‘enjoyable for the little ones’, Others refer to it as ‘chainsaw carving’, and one resident wrote to Spurtle on Friday calling it ‘amateurish’ and out of place (see Letters, 6.4.19).

Whether it was damaged by an over-enthusiastic fan, or critics took the claws into their own hands, we don't know.

An end to Owl-gate

Even before this article could be completed, the Bellevue Crescent owl was back on its former perch. At 1.18pm today, a triumphant Council spokesperson commented, ‘How’s that for speedy service!’

Howls of gratitude to all concerned.

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Bellevue Crescent Gardens