Highland Council has complained to police after a prankster put up a sign calling a controversial art project “vandalism”.
Fencing has been put up around the My Ness artwork, which is currently being constructed along the banks of the River Ness.
Posters bearing the official council logo were attached to the fencing, saying the work was “vandalism in progress”.
The local authority has not seen the funny side, and called the posters an example of “anti-social behaviour and littering”.
Who is behind the signs?
The signs claimed to be from the fictitious “department for the urbanisation of the natural environment”.
It is not known who the culprit behind the signs is, however, Highland Council has now passed the matter to police.
A spokesman said: “An unauthorised notice bearing the logos of Highland Council – used without permission – was removed from the safety fencing at the Gathering Place works.
“The illegal posting of these posters is being treated as anti-social behaviour, littering and vandalism and the matter has been reported to the police.”
Police probe underway
A police spokesman said: “We were made aware of a number of stickers found near the River Ness in Inverness on Tuesday July 27.
“Inquiries are ongoing.”
Construction of the art project has been underway for more than three months now.
Campaigners were able to delay the start date after raising concerns for the environmental and aesthetic impact on the popular city area.
Open Ness, the group formed in the wake of the artwork’s proposals, have said their input has led to some positive design changes, including better access for wheelchairs.
The group have said they were unaware of the signs and had no involvement.
‘It’s not brilliant, but it is better than it was before’
Helen Smith, of Open Ness, said: “It’s still not brilliant but it is better than it would have been before.
“I was quite taken aback when I was walking through the islands a couple of weeks ago of the scale of work actually being done on the river bed.
“It has been mangled and I do hope it recovers.
“There are fish spawning in the river and it is an important environment for all kinds of wildlife, from wee bugs upwards, and it has been kind of sterilised with what has happened.
“It will be interesting to see what it is like in its final stage and if it has implications in terms of flooding.”
Will the new project put an end to years of criticism?
Described by one critic as an “unwanted concrete monstrosity”, detailed designs for the My Ness art feature were finally approved last year.
The art project proposals for the River Ness have bitterly divided public opinion for six years.
The £340,000 project is a curved wall set at the Fisherman’s Hut section of the river.
It replaced the original design for what became known as the tilting pier.
The tilting pier was scrapped in 2016 following a public outcry.