Dirty protest as items left next to I Am Me statue at Aylesbury's Exchange development

Opportunist pranksters have left items next to the I Am Me statue at The Exchange in Aylesbury.

Over the weekend photos appeared on the Facebook page The Only Made in Aylesbury of a toilet placed underneath the I Am Me statue, one of three located within the new Exchange development in the town centre.

Photos of the portable toilet left next to the I Am Me statue in Aylesbury over the weekend

Photos of the portable toilet left next to the I Am Me statue in Aylesbury over the weekend

Written on the toilet was the message 'temporary (f) art installation. This will be collected after dropping the kids at the pool.'

The temporary toilet was removed on Monday afternoon.

This morning (Thursday) the newspaper was contacted by a man who claimed he put the toilet underneath the statue.

He did not leave his name but said of the incident: "The statue resembles a person squatting on the toilet - I am sure that was not the intention but that is what it appears.

A photo of another item left next to the I Am Me statue in Aylesbury

A photo of another item left next to the I Am Me statue in Aylesbury

"When I walked past I decided it would be funny to put a toilet underneath it.

"I cut down an old toilet to fit and returned to put it into position.

"I am not surprised at the reaction it has had on social media.

"It hopefully made people laugh - it was not intended as a protest.

"Personally I like the statues and I think they are a real talking point and could become iconic in the town."

A second photo has been circulating on the same Facebook page of a pink squishy toy left underneath the statue.

Posting to the Bucks Herald's Facebook page about the pink poo toy Lisa Burridge wrote: "My photo - it was a pink ‘squishy’ toy that my daughter had, and a truly serendipitous moment as we walked past the sculpture whilst she was playing with it.

"And don’t worry, I removed it immediately after I took the photo."

Johnny Ribena, who runs The Only Made in Aylesbury Facebook page said: "We saw the photo of the physical toilet floating around on Facebook and put it on our page.

"The second picture of the pink poo toy was submitted directly to us but we believe that appeared there before the physical toilet and was not abandoned there - it was just a way of making a point.

"There have been various opinions about the statue expressed on our page.

"One person said to us: "They look like adults with children's head masks on - it is disturbing - they are crying behind those white masks."

"It is not the first time a statue in the town centre has divided opinion - there was a very mixed reaction when the David Bowie statue was installed."

Artists Colin Spofforth designed the three pieces of public art - I Am Me, I Am Free and I Am Strong - on behalf of Bradley Murphy Design and Aylesbury Vale District Council while Chris Brammall designed the metalwork.

The I Am Me sculpture is designed to be 'quiet, thoughtful and creative, representing self-examination, self-discovery, contemplation and reinvention.'

Cllr Julie Ward, the district council's cabinet member for civic amenities said: "We want the sculptures and other artworks in The Exchange to engage, challenge and interest people.

"Whilst in an ideal world the specific additions may not have been what we would have wanted, the reaction on social media will, I hope, draw more people to come and look at these pieces for themselves and enjoy this new public space in Aylesbury town centre.

“Aylesbury has a rich history of public art reflected over the years in many different styles.

"Many local residents fondly remember the iconic fibreglass Aylesbury ducks and turkey which used to liven up the old Friars Square where people would gather and children would play.

"We hope that the public space created at The Exchange will recreate that kind of environment and that visitors to the town centre will come to enjoy the new installations in the same way.

"The artworks, as part of the bigger scheme, were funded out of a £3.3m grant from SEMLEP's [South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership] local growth fund - that enabled the development of the exciting public realm aspects of The Exchange.

"This money in turn came from SEMLEP's allocation of £117m from the 2014-20 European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) growth programme."