The sculptor behind a valuable Perth work of art has slammed sentences handed to two thieves who sold it for scrap.
Darren Angus and Gavin Pentland made just £200 from selling the piece, which in reality was worth almost £100,000.
The work, entitled Mother and Child, was the product of English sculptor Laurence Broderick and once formed the centrepiece of Cherrybank Gardens in Perth.
It remained in place when the much-loved gardens closed in 2008 but as the site became increasingly overgrown, it was targeted by the pair.
Yesterday at Perth Sheriff Court they were both jailed for four months but Skye-based artist Mr Broderick said they should have been sentenced to a far longer term.
The court had earlier heard how the pair ripped the sculpture from its pedestal and loaded it into the back of a van, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage in the process, in November last year.
Believing it was made out of copper, they sold it to a scrap merchant for a fraction of its true worth.
Angus, 33, of Glenartney Terrace, Perth, and Pentland, 34, of Birnam Crescent, Perth, previously admitted stealing the statue from Cherrybank Gardens on November 22 last year when they appeared at Perth Sheriff Court last month.
Sentence was deferred until yesterday for reports when Sheriff Alastair Brown ordered them to be detained.
He told them: “The excuse ‘it was scrap’ is an excuse which I regard as unacceptable and something that simply does not hold up.
“Metal has a value, even just as scrap that is why you took it. You were taking something that belonged to someone else. There is no excuse for stealing, even if it is scrap.
“In this case it must have been obvious that there was at least a very good chance that this item might be wanted. It wasn’t distorted or used metal, it was a statue you chose to close your eyes to that fact.”
Mr Broderick said the pair should be made to pay the thousands of pounds it will cost to repair the piece.
He said he was “incensed” and “let down” the pair had only been jailed for four months, calling it an “insult” to his work.
He said: “I’d like to take them to a bronze factory to see the amount of work that goes into creating a sculpture. They ought to pay for the repairs.
“It took years to make that piece and they destroyed it in half an hour. They are the scum of the earth.”