Row erupts over '˜offensive' topless mermaid in Derbyshire garden
A pensioner who has a statue of a topless mermaid in his garden has been told to remove the '˜house' it sits in.
Mick Barbrooks, 74, has had the statue - naked from the waist up - in his Grassmoor garden for the last 15 years.
Five years ago, Mick was asked by Rykneld Homes to protect the watery beauty’s modesty by covering her breasts.
But now the firm has told him to remove the structure that contains it - because it affects his neighbours’ ‘quality of life’.
He said: “I think it is just jealousy - they don’t want me to have anything.
“As long as they are tidy we should be able to do what we want with our gardens.”
Mick and his partner Ann Smedley, 72, bought the statue 15 years ago at a garden centre in Matlock.
Ten years later, Rykneld Homes asked him to cover up the ornament after teenage boys kept coming into his garden to look at her bare chest.
But this time the fed up pensioner says he is having none of it.
“They said if I don’t take her down I would have a summons for £100. I told them to clear off,” he said.
Mick - who has lived at the property for 40 years - says he has been around the neighbourhood getting signatures from people opposed to the association’s order.
“They all say there is nothing wrong with her,” he explained.
“There are nude statues all over the place, in London and Matlock Bath - everywhere.”
Mick, who has recently had cancer, is currently caring for Ann, who also has the disease.
“We have been through enough,” he said. “We don’t know why they are doing this.”
A spokesperson for Rykneld Homes said: “Earlier this year Rykneld Homes received a complaint from a neighbour regarding a statue in the front garden of Broom Drive. The neighbour felt the statue was offensive and inappropriate for such a setting.
“Rykneld Homes spoke with the tenant about the complaint and the tenant chose to cover the statue up.
“Rykneld Homes has never asked for the statue to be removed from the garden.
“In recent weeks Rykneld Homes has been in discussion with the tenant regarding a dangerous structure he has now erected in his front garden which houses the statue and other objects.
“The structure has been built without the necessary permissions and our surveyors are concerned it is unstable and poses a potential health and safety risk.”