Tree sculpture head found by canal

Melissa Abbott with the head she found from the vandalised Alice in Wonderland tree sculpture. (140110M4a)
Melissa Abbott with the head she found from the vandalised Alice in Wonderland tree sculpture. (140110M4a)
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The decapitated head of The Caterpillar sawn off Ripon’s Alice in Wonderland tree sculpture in an act of vandalism has been found.

The discovery was made by Melissa Abbott, of Magdalens Road, as she walked her two dogs – Tilly and Maisey – by the canal near the Lock House on Boroughbridge Road on Friday, January 10, at around 11.30am.

“I looked at it and immediately knew what it was – I thought ‘what’s that doing there?’,” said Melissa, who found the head placed at the bottom of a tree with its face on display.

“It had been put there so someone would find it.”

The businesswoman discovered the head the day after the Gazette had reported the vandalism carried out on the Spa Gardens sculpture in which the White Rabbit’s nose was also sawn off.

Melissa said: “It was cut so cleanly – I thought there would have been more damage. It was obviously a deliberate act.”

Having discovered the head, the mother-of-four was able to carry it home where police collected it later that day.

The head is still being held by Ripon police as evidence and a spokesman for Harrogate Borough Council, which commissioned the carvings, said it would wait for the return of the head to see whether it could be placed back on the sculpture or whether a new head would have to be carved.

Ripon police are still seeking information about the vandalism and two local businessmen, who wish to remain anonymous, have put up a reward totalling £500 for any information leading to a successful prosecution of whoever is responsible.

Anyone who can help is asked to contact PC1801 Matt Scott on 101 quoting reference number 12140000982.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be telephoned anonymously on 0800 555 111.