Red faces after crook is chosen as image that embodies town

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A £60,000 steel sculpture which, though born of high ideals, was a temptation to fate, left the council which commissioned it with an embarrassing problem yesterday. Among the images of 12 ordinary, local peoplebrightening one of many soulless roundabouts in the new town of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, skulks a rogue's face.

The sculpture on the Whitehey roundabout, with its gallery of blissful cotton-mill and shoe-factory workers etched into steel panels and mounted on 5ft poles, was a "positive, direct and modern" celebration of the town, said the West Lancashire district council.

While looking for subjects, Bruce Williams, the artist, found Graham Abbott, 21, sitting in a park with his daughter. He seemed the perfect embodiment of fatherhood and the future of the town.

But Mr Abbott has a string of convictions. A West Lancashire magistrates court officer confirmed yesterday that Chorley magistrates had fined him £100 for stealing from a supermarket, three months after he had received a two-year conditional discharge for causing criminal damage.

The council said yesterday that Mr Abbott's visage would be removed from the sculpture.