The artist who created the Putney sculpture trail has branded the thieves who stole one of his statues "wicked and stupid".

Alan Thornhill, who now lives in Gloucester, revealed the statue, Horizontal Ambiguity, along with all the others in the trail, was deliberately made from alloy to make it virtually worthless to metal thieves.

It was taken from a plinth next to the Duke's Head public house, situated in the Lower Richmond Road near the Putney Embankment, earlier this month.

Mr Thornhill said: "I am glad to hear that people in Putney are annoyed about it and will be extra vigilant.

"I think that it is probably not a good idea to draw too much attention to this event, very regrettable though it is. We need to be conscious of the copy-cat factor.

"All the sculptures in the trail are deliberately cast using an alloy that has very low intrinsic value so that their theft is not only wicked but also stupid. "I very much hope this is a one off."

The figure had stood at this location for four years after being presented as a gift to the people of Putney by Mr Thornhill.

The trail features nine key pieces in prime riverside locations stretching from Leader’s Gardens in the west to Riverside Quarter in the east.

The renowned sculptor wanted to leave a lasting legacy to the town he loved and where he lived for many years. He still has studios locally.

In response, police and Wandsworth Council are urging residents to keep a close eye on the remaining statues that form the rest of the much-loved trail.

Putney councillor Jim Madden said he was "upset and annoyed" when he heard about the theft.

A Wandsworth Police spokesman: "The statue is part of a series of works across the Putney area.

"The thieves concerned would have required cutting equipment to remove the item which was extremely heavy and secured to a concrete plinth."

It is urging anyone who saw any unusual vehicles or workmen on Putney Embankment to contact them on '101' or through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.