POLICE are hunting vandals who defaced a stone statue of William Wallace by covering it in white paint. They also gouged out the face on the #250,000 30ft-high statue, which is carved in the image of Mel Gibson.

Now the 12-tonne statue, above, has been covered up while repairs are carried out.

The work by sculptor Tom Church is leased to Stirling Tourist Board and will greet visitors to the Wallace Monument for the next four years. Yesterday Mr Church, from Brechin, said he was ''devastated'' by the damage which he estimates will cost several thousand pounds to repair.