WAREHAM Market’s towering Portland stone monument has been withdrawn from auction following a public outcry.

This means the statue – commissioned to commemorate 800 years of Wareham market trading – will remain in town for the foreseeable future.

The eight foot sculpture had been included in a sale at Wareham’s Cottees auction house – but its current owner, Geoff Thompson, pulled it out at the 11th hour amid mounting local concern.

Wareham Mayor Cllr Keith Green said: “We are delighted with Mr Thompson’s public-spiritness, shown in his decision to retain the famous sculpture in Wareham, and thank him most sincerely for it.”

The statue took stonemason Jonathan Sells six months to carve from Portland stone. Wareham residents and Cottees staff were even immortalised in the monument after posing as models.

Standing at the current market site in East Street, the monument depicts figures, animals and objects connected with Wareham’s markets.