Thieves have made off with the head of a 17th Century statue from Abercairney Estate near Crieff, it has been claimed.
It is understood that part of a historic stone piper vanished from within the estate grounds at some point around the beginning of August.
William Drummond-Moray, of Abercairney Estate, described the incident as curious and said he had been advised by police to contact the Herald in a bid to raise awareness.
Mr Drummond-Moray said: “The statue broke into three pieces following a bad frost some years ago. It was being kept on the estate with a view to having it restored but its head has mysteriously disappeared.
“It was being stored in two different boxes. We’re in the process of converting one of our stable buildings and the statue was to be used as a sort of centre-piece of that – we were going to put it on display for people to enjoy.
“It has been reported to the police and they suggested we contacted yourselves to generate some publicity about it.
“What is the head worth to anyone? I’d say it has absolutely no monetary value at all, but it is, of course, very significant historically.
“The person who’s done this might not have realised the historical importance of what it is they’ve taken.”
Mr Drummond-Moray speculated that the stone head may have been taken by someone with a degree of local knowledge as the distinctive item was being stored out of sight.
He added: “From memory, the piper was returned to Abercairney in about 1911 but, before that, it could be seen at a bridge in Doune and was known as the Piper of Doune – but its history goes back even further than that.”
Mr Drummond-Moray’s son-in-law, Daniel Parker, has been carrying out research into the statue’s past and has been in contact with the Lowland and Border Pipers Society.
The piper is described in the 1898 William Drysdale book ‘Old Faces, Old Places and Old Stories of Stirling’ as being originally fixed on a gate pillar at Ballinton – home of the Napier family – in the 17th century.
It was said to have been moved, along with a companion statue of a drummer, to a bridge in the Doune area, before the pair were allegedly pushed into the river, and the drummer destroyed.
The piper, minus its left leg, was built into the wall of barn known as Piper’s House next to the bridge, prior to being moved with the Home family of Blair Drummond to Abercairny in 1913.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said she was unaware of the suspected theft. Local officers were subsequently said to be making enquiries into the incident as the Herald went to press on Wednesday afternoon this week.