Barnsley's prank-hit Dickie Bird statue raised

Statue of Harold 'Dickie' Bird The plinth beneath the statue of Dickie Bird, in Barnsley, has been raised to about 5ft (1.5m) high

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A statue of former Test cricket umpire Dickie Bird has been elevated to stop people hanging rude items on his outstretched finger.

The sculpture, in his hometown of Barnsley, has become a magnet for revellers who have hung condoms and pants from it.

Mr Bird, who has been spotted removing the items himself, said he did not mind his statue being treated in this way.

The sculpture has been raised to make it harder to reach the statue's finger.

The life-size artwork shows the legendary former umpire raising his index finger to indicate a batsman is out.

Other items to have been hung from it have included pumpkins and chip boxes.

Mr Bird said he did not mind people having fun hanging items from the statue but worried about people falling off the plinth.

'A bit inappropriate'

He said: "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."

Sculptor Graham Ibbeson said the plinth beneath the statue would be raised to about 5ft high (1.5m).

He said: "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.

"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.

"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."

Mr Ibbeson has also designed statues of comedians including Eric Morecambe, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, as well as famous sporting figures such as Fred Trueman and William Webb Ellis.

Work to raise the statue was carried out on Friday and an unveiling ceremony is due to take place on Sunday.

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