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Haaf Netter, half gone!

THE controversial Haaf Netter statue in Annan is now headless, fishless and net-less

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By Zac Hannay
Annan and Eskdale
Haaf Netter, half gone!

The new damage is believed to have happened at the end of last week, with the vandalism reported to the police.

Annan Community Council say someone appears to have taken a power tool to the sculpture and ground through the bars to remove the net and the attached salmon.

Just recently the group paid £350 to move the statue out to the shore at Seafield. They were planning to add a head in due course.

But last week the net and fish were attacked and removed, adding yet more misery to the already decapitated haaf netter.

BEFORE . . . the haaf netter pictured after being moved to Seafield

Community council chairman Allan Weild said: “I’m very disappointed it has come to this. It has had a troubled existence.

“I’ll say it and I will say it again – if it still had its head it would be at Tesco. We thought it was an ideal location down the shore and we were going to see about getting a head replaced.

“We thought that would have been its new home forever.

“I don’t know what the next step is now. Hopefully maybe some of the neighbours will have seen something.

“Without the net and the fish, you would not know it’s a haaf netter.”

The £40,000 artwork was handed over to the townspeople as a gift upon the opening of the Tesco store in 2009.

However, its original head was removed several years ago and it ended up being uprooted and removed from Scott’s Street roundabout in November 2020.

Allan added: “Police came to my door and asked if the community council would take ownership so they could give it a crime number. “That’s the only reason why, since then it has been an absolute nightmare.”

However, the creator of the statue, Paul Cowan, does not believe the community council had any right to move the bronze sculpture from the roundabout. He would prefer to see it down the harbour where there is CCTV.

And this week he said he is willing to repair it if given the cash to do so.

Paul said: “It should have been left where it was. They (Annan Community Council) did not have permission to remove that sculpture.

“They don’t own it; it’s owned by the people of Annan.

“I was in talks with the harbour trust to move it down to the harbour. It would be better there because there are cameras all around.

“At some point they are going to have to get it fixed. The only person that can work on that sculpture is me. I own that image, no one else can repair it except me.

“No other artist would do it. They would not touch another artist’s work. The image rights belong to the artist who created it.”
Paul added: “I am still willing for it to go to the harbour. It would look fantastic down there.

“I am also willing to repair it but the community council should be paying for it because they destroyed it.”

Repairs will be easy enough, he said: “The net is just stainless steel I can remake it. But the community council will have to pay for it.”

At present there is no trace of either net or fish, and the person responsible is unknown. Enquiries are ongoing.

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