An amateur football club has agreed to compensate a Perth restaurant boss after it admitted some of its players – including one dressed as Jesus – were involved in the brazen theft of a £500 statue.
The statue, named Geovani, was beheaded and its remains found the next day on a street in Stonehaven, some 70 miles away.
A football club in the north-east of Scotland has confessed to The Courier its players were involved in the mayhem.
A spokesman for Cowie Thistle AFC said: “I’ve spoken to the owner (of CriDo’s) and the club has agreed to pay for the damages.
“I personally wasn’t there and we’re very disappointed.”
He said: “The player/players involved will make a charitable donation as a disciplinary measure but as far as were concerned the matter is now closed.”
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Owner Christian Cojocaru has said he was “happy” that the club had agreed to pay him for the stolen statue.
He will discuss with the team’s treasurer a possible payment to a local charity.
Members of the club were in Perth for a drink-fuelled Christmas day out.
Residents said they had spotted the distinctive group – featuring at least one “Jesus” in beard and flowing white robes – in various pubs around the city centre.
Geovani was snatched at about 7.30pm and the theft was recorded on CCTV.
Mr Cojocaru later received a photograph of the remains of the statue, dumped on Westfield Road, Stonehaven. Another image on social media shows Geovani’s head, lying on a pavement.
Police Scotland issued an appeal for witnesses.
A spokesman said: “We are investigating the theft of a life-sized wooden statue of a chef from outside a restaurant in St John’s Place, Perth, between 6pm and 7.30pm on Saturday.
“The statue was carried off by members of a group who appeared to be in fancy dress, with a person wearing a red and green elf outfit seen to be carrying it.”
He said: “While they may have thought it was a prank, this is still theft and is being dealt with as such. CCTV in Perth city centre is being reviewed to trace the movements of the group.”