Locals furious as ‘Big Potato’ chopped down by mindless vandals after NYE

Locals are furious after a huge potato sculpture was chopped down by mindless vandals on New Year's Day morning.

Investigations were still ongoing on Sunday after the landmark, nicknamed the 'Big Potato', was cut down from its stand at around 3.30am on January 1.

The four-metre tall sculpture located at the entrance of the village of Xylophagou in Cyprus went viral in October last year when confused passers-by shared photos of it online.

It was a replica of the Spunta variety of potato and had even been decorated with Christmas lights to mark the festive season.

Community leader George Tasou, who created the Big Potato, had been at the landmark on New Year's Eve and left at around 2am, leaving someone to guard it until the morning.

However, vandals arrived soon after and chopped it down, causing €5,000 (£4,200) worth of damage in the process.

Tasou is said to have been extremely saddened by the incident. He gave a statement to police in Dhekelia.

Speaking back in October to the Cyprus Mail, Tasou explained the meaning behind the bizarre sculpture.

He said: "Xylophagou has a long legacy of potato growing and used to be the main potato grower in Cyprus.

"This helped the village grow into the 10,000-strong community it is today."

It even caught the eye of former Cypriot ambassador to the UK Euripides Evriviades, who wrote on Twitter: "Other countries have instantly recognisable monuments, now we have ours."

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The Big Potato was also the subject of ridicule, with many online pointing out its suggestive shape.

"I’m not bothered because it’s brought publicity to our village, and I’m hoping it will promote the Cyprus potato around the world," Tasou explained last year.

As it attracted so much attention, the Big Potato had been guarded to fend off would-be vandals.

It also had graffiti sprayed across it before the latest incident on Saturday.

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