Tamworth charity calls for 'Peel pig' sculpture return
A charity is calling for a council leader to bring back a sculpture of a pig he has removed from a Staffordshire town centre.
The Tamworth sculpture, which is depicted wearing a police helmet, is known as the "Peel Pig" after former prime minister Sir Robert Peel, who was an MP in the town.
The work was removed by the councillor Danny Cook who said it was "offensive".
But a charity set up to honour Sir Robert is calling for its return.
The Peel Society said the work formed part of a Trotters Trail through the town in honour of Tamworth's association with the animal.
The trail was funded by an £8,000 grant from the Arts Council.
'Colourful street furniture'
The pig is decorated in purple and yellow - the Peel family colours - and wears the police helmet as a tribute to Sir Robert's role in establishing the Metropolitan Police Force.
Nigel Morris, chairman of the society, said the statue was "colourful street furniture", designed to keep people "informed about one of the greatest politicians this country has ever produced".
"It was a social art project," he said. "The pigs are all over Tamworth, in schools and in castle grounds.
"I was invited, as chair of the Peel Society to paint one. I saw it as a unique opportunity to tell the people of Tamworth about Sir Robert Peel."
- Sir Robert Peel was a grammar school boy from Bury
- He became an MP in 1809
- He is credited with the development of the Tamworth pig
- As home secretary, he set up the Metropolitan Police Force. The police became known as "peelers" or "bobbies" in his honour
Mr Cook said: "I have been contacted by retired police officers who say they are offended by it.
"If I had left it, there would have been a lobby of people wanting it removed.
"An offensive pig is not going back on council land."
Andy Adams, chairman of the Staffordshire Police Federation, said the pig had "raised a smile" and was "not intended to be offensive".
"It's not the average pig in town," he said.
"I know 'pig' can be a derogatory term for a police officer but I don't think the Peel Society meant it that way at all. It's there to get a message across and it was probably over the top to remove it."