A sculpture created by Angel of the North creator Antony Gormley which was loaned to Newcastle University has been vandalised.
Clasp, part of Sir Antony's Blockwork series, proved controversial among students when it was installed on King’s Walk, between the Students’ Union building and Northern Stage, last year.
Now, an investigation is underway after the 4.5m stack of iron blocks was vandalised.
Newcastle student newspaper The Courier reports that witnesses claim a man ran up to the statue just before 2.30pm on Monday, quickly spraying it with blue and yellow paint before running off.
Grey in colour when it first arrived, the sculpture has slowly turned a rusty colour, a transformation designed by the artist as “an organic response to environmental conditions”.
While university bosses said they were "honoured" to host the work, a Change.org petition set up by students after it was installed said it "has ruined the aesthetic of the campus".
A Newcastle University spokesperson said: "Our security teams are reviewing CCTV footage and are liaising with the police to help identify the individual, or individuals, responsible."
A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: "At about 8.25pm, May 13, police received a report of graffiti of a sculpture on Newcastle University Campus.
"It is believed that the incident happened around 2.30pm the same day."