Half a dozen artistic reindeer statues, aimed at urging visitors to explore Leeds as part of a festive trail, have been damaged by vandals hours after their launch.
Several reindeer were picture looking worse for wear on social media as the trail was launched on Monday, with the Northern Ballet, Bibis and Merrion Centre-sponsored statues among those to have their antlers snapped off.
The 16-statue Reindeer Trail is part of the Magical Leeds series of activities and promotions set up by Leeds and Partners alongside city companies aimed at bringing more people to Leeds as a destination for Christmas.
Visitors to Leeds are encouraged to discover all 16 reindeer, take selfies with them and post them to social media tagging them #MagicalLeeds.
Leeds and Partners has expressed its disappointment at the news, while confirming that several damaged statues are being repaired before they are put back on public display and a new Reindeer Trail map is released.
Deborah Copeland, director of communications at Leeds and Partners, said: “The reaction to the reindeer has been fantastic, particularly from young children, so it is particularly sad that a few small-minded people have behaved in this way. We are not going to let this setback spoil the fun for everyone and the Reindeer Trail will be in full force as soon as possible after we’ve made the necessary repairs.”
Magical Leeds, which is backed by the YEP, is the product of collaboration between major businesses and authorities including Leeds City Council, Trinity Leeds and Opera North.
The campaign is part of the VisitEngland-led Growing Tourism Locally project, funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and private investment, and will see a series of Christmas activities showcase the city as a destination for short breaks to audiences nationwide. Visit www.magicalleeds.co.uk.