GREYFRIARS Bobby has been given a facelift with a blowtorch to restore his black nose.

The statue of Scotland's most famous dog, on Edinburgh's George IV Bridge, was cleaned, covered in wax and heated with open flames to undo damage caused by superstitious tourists.

A Facebook campaign had called on visitors to stop rubbing his nose for good luck - as the practice had worn away the tarnish on the bronze statue over the summer.

Edinburgh City Council yesterday brought in statue experts to carry out the delicate work to turn the Skye terrier's nose black again. Crowds gathered around the statue as workmen set about restoring its nose, using a blow torch connected to a huge gas cannister. Campaigner John Hein said: "It's nice to see his black nose, after all he's not a golden retriever.

"The locals have been sneaking out in the night to touch up the nose with black shoe polish and it was amazing seeing tourists walk away with grubby fingers. It's not a tradition to rub the nose, I don't know where that came from.

"It's important that we look after icons like Bobby for future generations."

Brian Caster, 50, director of Bronze Powderhall Foundry, was responsible for overseeing the restoration of the statue. He said: "It's been a privilege to work on such a vitally important statue sited in Edinburgh."

Greyfriars Bobby is said to have guarded the grave of his owner for 14 years until he himself died in 1872.