ANDOVER'S Millennium Man has again been toppled in what the council leader is describing as a suspected act of "mindless vandalism".

The iconic statue, situated next to the roundabout at the junction of Salisbury Road and Weyhill Road, has been broken at the ankles from his usual spot overseeing the busy intersection.

Test Valley Borough Council officers recovered the £14,000 statue on Saturday, making the site safe.

Cllr Phil North has now pledged to return the Millennium Man to his "rightful place" and is asking officers to investigate ways he can be better secured.

This is not the first time the statue has been vacant from his post because of damage - vandalism in October 2018 and further damage in February 2019 saw the roundabout without its onlooker for three months.

The statue first disappeared in 2007, when vandals levered him off the plinth.

At the time, Michael Johnson, senior arts officer at Test Valley Borough Council, said: "It must have been done by those people less intelligent than if there was life on Mars."

By artist Claire Norrington, the statue was first erected in the year 2000 to mark the new millennium.

In recent years, the Millennium Man has become a much-loved part of the town, and a piece of public art.

In March 2020, as the Covid lockdown loomed, one quick-witted Andover resident placed a surgical mask on the statue.

It has also been used for yarn bombs and guerilla art.

Reacting to the latest damage, Cllr North said on Saturday: "I’m disappointed to report that Millennium Man was toppled last night - in what we suspect was an act of mindless vandalism.

"A team from Test Valley Borough Council recovered him today and have made the site safe.

"Since it was installed, Millennium Man has become a well loved piece of public art in Andover.

"It’s really frustrating then that one or more mindless morons feel they can ruin it for the rest of us.

"We will, of course, return him to his rightful place - and I’ve asked council officers to investigate ways he can be better secured in the future.

"This isn’t the first time it’s happened. We will also liaise with the police to see if we can catch the culprit(s)."

Hampshire Constabulary has been contacted for comment.