Everton speak out after flare lit on Dixie Dean statue

Everton Football Club issued a statement tonight after a flare was lit on their beloved Dixie Dean statue outside Goodison.

The incident is believed to have happened at around 6am on Sunday morning before club staff reported it to Merseyside Police.

A video was later widely shared on social media, showing the pyrotechnic burning in the statue's arms, close to a number of floral arrangements left at his feet in honour of Blues who had died.

Dixie Dean's granddaughter later spoke of her disappointment over the incident before a spokesperson for Everton said the club were working with police to find the person responsible.

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In a statement issued on their website, the club said: "Everton is assisting Merseyside Police with enquiries in relation to a flare ignited on the Dixie Dean statue outside Goodison Park.

"We encourage anyone with information relating to this disappointing and disrespectful incident to contact Merseyside Police.

"Following inspection – and cleaning of the memorial and the site – we can thankfully confirm no permanent damage has been done to the statue of our greatest-ever goalscorer – or the floral tributes laid at the foot of the statue."

Police and Everton Football Club are looking into an incident where a flare was lit on the Dixie Dean statue outside Goodison Park causing damage

Melanie Prentice told the ECHO : ""We are disappointed, saddened and quite frankly a little puzzled as to why somebody should choose to desecrate the statue of Grandad in such a manner.

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"The perpetrators are clearly not aware of the warm, friendly and cordial relationship my grandad enjoyed with Liverpool legend Bill Shankly or that my grandad's statue is a place where relatives lay flowers for those who have recently passed away.

"It is inappropriate and entirely unnecessary."

A spokesperson for Merseyside Police also confirmed on Monday evening that the incident was being looked into by officers.

Police and Everton Football Club are looking into an incident where a flare was lit on the Dixie Dean statue outside Goodison Park causing damage

The force said: "We are aware of footage showing a flare at the Dixie Dean statue outside Goodison Park.

The footage appears to show a flare on the statue on Spellow Lane, and enquiries are ongoing to establish the exact circumstances.

Merseyside Police Acting Chief Inspector Robert Ross said: "Flares can cause serious injury to people and damage to property, and seizures like Friday’s show our determination to prevent them being used irresponsibly and from causing serious injury and distress.

"We will continue to work with all our emergency services and take action to keep people safe.

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"I would urge anyone who knows who is responsible for putting a flare on the Dixie Dean statue, a focal point for so many people at times of celebration and grief, to contact us."

Anyone with information on this incident, or the storage and possession of flares and smoke bombs, is asked to contact @MerPolCC or 101.

Alternatively, you can pass information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.