The sand sculpture festival in Weston-Super-Mare has been one of the highlights of the summer season for several years. But organisers of the event have been forced to call in the police this week after the exhibition was vandalised.
The vandals broke in after dark and worked their way around the site - smashing and beheading sculptures as they went. They took a particular dislike to the full sized figure of the Queen and knocked her head clean off.
Organiser Nicola Wood said: "This festival is our livelihood. We've been working on this festival since December. I've worked on this exhibition every year for the past seven years and this year being part of the organising committee for it, means that I've put my blood, sweat and tears into not only the sculptures, but the designs, the organising, right down to the fencing and all those months of work to be destroyed in a matter of minutes was really heartbreaking."
Police are investigating and are checking through the CCTV.
Three men were captured on camera and the organisers are offering a reward to anyone who has information which might lead to the culprits.
Nicola was due to fly to Holland on Thursday for the European Sculpting Championships. She withdrew to stay and repair the damaged figures.
The UK will now not be represented at the event - and as a former world champion Nicola stood a good chance of winning.
She says: "I've been really excited about it for a long time, I've been working on my design. Then obviously Thursday morning which was the day I was due to be flying I found all this vandalism and I thought I can't leave it. Like I said, it's my livelihood and I cannot leave the festival in this state so I've had to forfeit my place."
The exhibition remains open to the public although the admission price has been reduced to £2. It'll take many hours to repair all the damage but the organisers are working round the clock to put things back to how they were.