ONE of the wooden sheep decorated as part of the Kidderminster Arts Festival has been vandalised and destroyed days after being installed in the town centre.

The sheep, which had been decorated by youngsters at Kidderminster and District Youth Trust (KDYT), was vandalised overnight between Thursday (August 10) and Friday (August 11).

The trail of individually decorated wooden sheep and lambs - Sheep Fest - was launched in the town centre on Monday (August 7) as part of the annual Kidderminster Arts Festival (KAF).

Posting on Facebook, the Mayor of Kidderminster, Councillor Nicky Gale - who commissioned Sheep Fest - said: "I am saddened to see that one of the sheep has been wrecked.

"I am often asked and told why are you not doing anything to bring back life to Kidderminster, or there is nothing going on.

"Well, as the mayor, I engaged with community groups and in return they paid for a sheep from a group that help others.

"They got their own groups involved in putting thoughts and effort into producing their works of art.

"Then the rest of the community have the choice to judge the best one.

"Whenever I mentioned what I had in mind for Sheep Fest people said I was mad as it was a waste of time because it would be wrecked. My view is we can't let a few spoil life for the many and it is only a few.

"The sheep in the photo was done by young people who often have a hard time trying to make sense of what life is throwing at them.

"If anyone can shed any light on who has done this then perhaps they can explain the reason behind their behaviour."

Cllr Gale added: "Like many members of our community, I am extremely disappointed by this act of a small minority. If anyone can shed any light on who is responsible, then I would urge them to speak up. 

"However we will not allow this incident to ruin what we wish to achieve. As well as visiting the trail around the town centre people will also be able to view photographs of all the sheep on Facebook – including the one that was vandalised - before choosing their favourite."

Nikki Genner, who organises KAF on behalf of Wyre Forest District Council, said: “We were saddened to hear what happened overnight, but we won’t allow it to dampen our spirits.

“We are very much looking forward to another great festival, and welcoming lots of visitors to the town to take part in all the great events and activities we have going on.”

A spokesman from KDYT said: "We have spoken to the young people involved in creating the KDYT sheep, they are upset about what has happened to the sheep and thank people for their kind comments and support. 

"KDYT are also frustrated by what has happened but recognise there are other issues facing young people today. We are a small charity working with 100’s of young people each week providing a range of services and support."

Cllr Gale, working in partnership with Churches Together, had commissioned more than 30 of the wooden sheep and lambs which have been decorated by local groups and individuals and put on display on the town centre.

Residents and visitors can enjoy the Sheep Fest trail until August 21.

A Sheep Fest trail map can be picked up from Kidderminster Town Hall or downloaded from the Kidderminster Arts Festival website.

Using the map, visitors can vote for their favourite sheep or lamb - returning their vote to Kidderminster Town Hall by Saturday, August 19.

A community picnic will be held among the decorated sheep on Sunday, August 20, between 2.30pm and 4.30pm in Exchange Place - or in Kidderminster Town Hall if the weather is bad.