Glasgow's famous Lobey Dosser statue has been removed by the council after it was vandalised by a "Rank Bajin".

Bud Neill's legendary Evening Times comic strip creation was cast in bronze and unveiled in Woodlands Road in 1992.

The statue was paid for by a public appeal which raised £20,000 and later adopted by the city council which pays for its upkeep.

In Mr Neill's cartoon strip, which ran in the 1940s and 1950s, Lobey was cowboy sheriff of the mythical Calton Creek.

The monument – which also depicts his sturdy steed El Fideldo and resident villain Rank Bajin - disappeared earlier in the week prompting several readers to get in touch.

Reader, John Park, said: “I was driving along Woodlands Road and stopped to look at the Lobey Dosser but it was not there. I passed again the next day and there was no statue. Some residents said it had been taken away.”

Glasgow City Council has now confirmed it was removed after it was targeted by vandals.

A council source, who asked not to be named, said: “The vandalism could have been the wear and tear caused by ebullient youths using the monument as a rocking horse or it may have been a deliberate act of malice.

“The damage was reported to the council by a number of members of the public and the cost of repairs is likely to be in the order of several thousand pounds.”

Reader Janice Alexander said: “It’s rotten of someone to do that. They are Rank Bajins. I knew Bud Neill. He worked with my dad and he was always a quiet, unassuming man. He would have sent the Lobey Dosser out to get the vandals if he was alive today.”

The council source added: “It wouldn’t be for me to say that a Rank Bajin carried out the vandalism.”

A council spokesman said: “The Lobey Dosser statue has indeed been removed, due to vandalism and the repairs now necessary.

“The statue is now in a workshop where the bronze sculptor Ranald MacColl will assess the damage and repair the statue.”

Mr MacColl is a Glasgow artist and designer who was involved in the creation of the original statue.

He also created another Bud Neill bronze, the ‘GI Bride’ statue at Partick Station for SPT.

The Lobey Dosser statue was adopted by Glasgow City Council in 2008, when it was donated to the city by Ranald MacColl, Tom Shields and their associates.

The council spokesman added: “This work will take several months, but the many fans of this famous part of the Glasgow landscape should not worry – Lobey Dosser will return.”