A giant plastic snow globe meant to protect the famous statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus over Christmas has mysteriously broken, showering shoppers in polystyrene pellets.
The 30ft plastic shell was erected around the Grade I listed London landmark last month for the festive season.
Westminster Council aimed to add some seasonal sparkle as well as shielding the statue from drunken vandals and souvenir hunters.
The statue's most recent accident came when its bow had to be fixed after it was broken by a tourist in May 2012.
In a statement ahead of the snow globe’s instalment, creators Wildstone said: “The memorial which was built in 1892, is one of the UK’s most photographed and loved landmarks, and the snow globe will protect it for the enjoyment of future visitors.”
The inflatable PVC membrane was constructed by “fabric structure experts”, it said. Adverts were also displayed on boards surrounding the globe.
Planning permission was granted last year for it to be installed for every Christmas until 2016 but it lasted little over a month.
A spokesman for the council said vandalism is not believed to be the cause of today’s damage and officers are still establishing what happened.
Onlookers have speculated that the high winds battering London today could be to blame.
"The snowglobe was tested rigorously before it was put into place and was designed to deflate if any problems were detected," a spokesperson for Westminster Council said. "As soon as we were aware there was an issue it was in the public interest to remove it straight away, and we are working with our contractors to establish the cause of what happened."