AN unofficial exclusion zone has been set up around one of Scotland’s most famous monuments in a bid to stop it being damaged by superstitious tourists.
Black and yellow tape and a warning sign have appeared around Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh after his nose was rubbed down to the brass.
The mystery conservationist carefully installed the official-looking tape and “Do not touch” sign yesterday evening.
The statue attracts thousands of visitors each year, many of whom have adopted the modern superstition that rubbing his nose brings good luck.
Edinburgh Council tried four years ago to restore the statue’s shiny nose back to its original black but the coating was rubbed off within days.
Even today, visitors to the city were ignoring the warning tape and stop sign.
Nadia, from Poland, who declined to give her surname, said: “It is a shame that someone has put tape around it.
“The only way to deal with it is to put fencing around the statue. People touch his nose because it is supposed to bring you luck and people do it.”
The Laurie family from Minnesota, said: “We touched it because we were told by the tour guide it is supposed to bring good luck and to touch it. Only one of us noticed the tape around Bobby.”
Cameron Jinks, from Northern Ireland but who studied in Edinburgh, said: “ I can understand the reason behind the tape.”
The 28-year-old added: “It’s a similar situation to the statue in Brussels that people kept touching it and it now looks horrible. I can see this happening to Bobby which is a shame.”
Local Chris Yorkston, 35, said: “I think it is a great idea. It looks official and hopefully should deter people from touching his nose.
“It’s just really irritating that the tour guides are telling these people absolute nonsense.
“It’s just absolute s***e. Touching his nose doesn’t bring good luck. It’s just damaging his nose and removing the bronze.”
The statue of Greyfriars Bobby was erected in 1872 to commemorate the Skye terrier who reputedly stayed at the graveside of his master, John Gray, for 14 years.
Edinburgh City Council revealed they had removed the protective tape, claiming it was a safety hazard.
A spokeswoman said: “It’s no secret Bobby loves the attention, particularly having his picture taken, but he’s not so keen on having his nose rubbed.
“We’re grateful to the kind person who tried to protect him but unfortunately the tape they put down on the pavement is a slip hazard and we’ve had to remove it.”