When a girl's flip-flop was stolen in Golders Hill Park, there was more than the usual sense of outrage.
That's because the footwear in question belonged to the Golders Hill Girl, a solid bronze sculpture which has become a favourite with park users since it was donated by Hampstead sculptress
Patricia Finch, who died last year.
Although it happened in May, police are no nearer to getting to the bottom of who was responsible for the theft.
"I think it's outrageous and it makes me very cross that you can't have pretty things and beautiful things because they are nicked," said Marion Bunzl, an artist whose garden on West Heath Road
backs on to the park.
"I think it's a shame because I have always liked that sculpture."
The girl, clad in a t-shirt and shorts, sitting with her legs outstretched and hands behind her, represents how much the park is enjoyed by so many every weekend of the year. She has been nestling
in the park's bushes next to the feted flower garden since it was donated 12 years ago.
A spokesman from the Corporation of London, which runs the park, said that it plans to approach the foundry where the sculpture was made to have a replacement sandal forged.
"We're very disturbed that this act of vandalism has occurred," he said. "We installed extra security precautions after a similar incident. There are three or four statues that have been had a go
at so we will be looking at it again.” If you can help find the missing flip-flop, call Barnet police crime desk on 020 8200 1212.