A statue of Robert Baden-Powell that was due to be removed has been boarded up to protect it.

BCP Council had announced that the statue of the founder of the Scout Movement on Poole Quay would be temporarily taken down after it was put on a target list.

But the removal, due to take place on Thursday, was delayed after a crowd of people - some wearing Scout uniforms - gathered around the statue and vowed to protect it.

Around 35,000 people have signed a petition calling for the statue to remain in place.

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Those campaigning for the monument to be removed highlighted Baden-Powell's associations with the Nazis and the Hitler youth programme, as well as his actions in the military.

Mark Howell, deputy leader of BCP Council, said: “We are aware many Poole residents value the Lord Baden-Powell statue highly and the council has a duty to take reasonable steps to protect it for the benefit of generations to come.

"Council officers advised us that the quickest and best way of protecting the statue was to temporarily remove it. It is clear though that many residents were concerned that the statue, if removed, might not return. We have therefore decided to board the statue up to protect it and reassure the public that it will remain as a fixture on Poole Quay. While the statue will not be as secure as if it had been removed to a secure facility, we feel the current proposal better reflects the wishes of the people of Poole.

"The statue will also be enclosed with hoarding-type boards, which will be decorated with artwork of historical figures associated with Poole, including Lord Baden-Powell in the near future. It is our intention that the boarding is removed at the earliest, safe opportunity.”

The statue appeared on a target list that emerged following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US city of Minneapolis last month.

Dorset Police confirmed that it had been "identified as a potential target" but said officers had not advised the council to remove it.

Dan Davies, 37, from Poole, set up his tent next to the statue after hearing about the potential threat.

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"I have been camping out like Scouts do - I was a Scout for all the years that I could," Mr Davies said.

"It is something that is close to my heart. When I saw this happening I set my tent up and I've been here since.

"I don't think people understand the good of the Scout movement. People are failing to see the goodness.

"It is a risk that it is on the list of statues. We are taking the threat seriously."

Mr Davies said people at the statue were happy to talk to campaigners who felt it should be removed and "have a conversation".

"Poole is a tourist town - we are not looking for trouble," he added.

"We are just doing what we think is right and what we believe in."

The World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) said it was following reports about the possible removal of the Baden-Powell statue.

In a statement on Friday, the organisation said Baden-Powell, who was born in 1857, had lived "in a different era with different realities".

It said the movement he set up more than 113 years ago now has 54 million Scouts in 224 countries and territories.

"Scouting offers an inclusive environment to bring young people of all races, cultures and religions together, and creates opportunities for dialogue about how to promote peace, justice and equality," the WOSM said.

"The movement that was founded in 1907 on Brownsea Island stands strong in its promotion of diversity and inclusion which are cornerstones of Scouting's values, while denouncing all forms of racism, discrimination, inequality and injustice."

It said Scouts across the world attached "historical value and symbolism" to the birthplace of the movement.