A STATUE of a Durham miner enjoying life at the seaside has been vandalised.

The depiction of Freddie Gilroy by County Durham artist Ray Lonsdale was bought by a Scarborough pensioner for £40,000.

But last night it was daubed with yellow paint.

Mr Gilroy led the last survivors out of Belsen during World War Two.

Police were called to the scene on Marine Drive overlooking North Bay by a member of the public at 8.15pm last night.

Officers are now appealing for anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area of the statue last night or knows who is responsible to come forward.

Inspector Tony Quinn of Scarborough’s Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “The statue is much-loved by people in the town and many residents are very angry about this mindless vandalism.

“The statue was kindly saved for the town by a local resident at considerable cost and the incident has deeply upset local people.

“We will do everything in our power to find those responsible and are seeking the help of members of the public to help find the suspects.

“We are appealing to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area of the statue prior to 8.15pm on Thursday evening, or anyone who believes they know who is responsible.

“We are also appealing to any shop owners who recall selling yellow gloss paint to anyone, any parents whose children or teenagers were out last night and may have had access to yellow paint, to please contact the police as soon as possible.

“It is vital that the people responsible are held to account for their actions.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2 and ask for Alex Parker.

If you do not want to give your name, you can give information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.