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'Stolen' Bath bike art installation was removed by council contractor

A plea was issued for the art installation's safe return. Credit: BPM Media

A street art installation that was thought to be stolen in Bath has been found - after it was discovered that a council contractor had taken it down.

The piece, made up from 69 bicycle wheels covered with red fabric, was installed on George Street in September to raise awareness of air pollution in the city.

Less than two weeks after it was completed, it vanished from the railings it was attached to overnight.

The artist who created it, along with the local community, issued a plea for the piece to be returned.

No one knows how the mix-up happened Credit: BPM Media

I can't believe it, I'm so surprised and glad that it was not a vindictive act from someone who didn't like them.

I'm really pleased that I can put them back up and continue raising awareness of this important issue.

I don't know how it could have happened but I actually had a really nice out pouring of support following the news that they had been stolen.

Everyone was so supportive and really concerned how this happened so at least something positive came out of this.

– Alison Harper, artist
The piece was installed to raise awareness of air pollution in Bath Credit: BPM Media

Police began investigating the apparent 'theft' but could not initially identify any lines of enquiry.

However it has been discovered that the bike wheels were actually removed by a council contractor because of fears the artwork could be easily detached.

The piece had been secured to the fence using cable ties, but artist Alison Harper had permission from the council to put them up on display in the first place.

In a statement, Bath and North East Somerset Council said the artwork - which had been removed due to concerns about the fixings - will be reinstalled.

An artwork featuring 69 red bicycle wheels, thought to have been stolen, is in safekeeping after Bath & North East Council tracked it down.

The artwork, which had been displayed on a temporary basis in Bath’s George Street, was created by local textile artist Alison Harper with the help of Transition Larkhall members.

The wheels were attached to railings on the street to highlight concerns about air quality.

However due to concerns the fixings could become easily detached, the wheels were taken down by a contractor working for the council and placed in safekeeping until they could be safely reinstalled.

– Bath and North East Somerset Council