SPRING has sprung early in Glasgow, judging by the latest attire on the Duke Of Wellington.

The statue, outside the Gallery Of Modern Art in Queen Street,was sporting a floral shirt yesterday as well as the standard traffic cone.

The iconic sight has proved a headache for Glasgow City Council, which says it spends £10,000 a year removing the cone and other items of clothing.

Last year, the council announced plans to raise the statue in an attempt to deter pranksters.

But the local author­ity was forced to back down after a campaign was launched to Keep The Cone, led by Airdrie-born singer-songwriter Raymond Hackland.

His campaign has been voted one of the Top 10 favourite Glasgow based Facebook pages of the last 10 years. It now boasts more than 95,000 likes.

The Evening Times revealed last month that the cone attracted just one complaint last year from the public. How­ever, the council say the cone must be removed for safety reasons.

Mr Hackland, 32, who now lives in Hamburg, Germany, said: "I would say to the complainers, just try to laugh a bit more.

"Look at the joy it is bringing and the number of e-mails and positive comments we have had on the site since we launched the Facebook campaign.

"The public love seeing the duke with the cone.

"It might be a dark, rainy morning in Glasgow and people are heading to their work and they see the cone and it brings them a bit of light.

"There was a huge population of people who had no idea before this campaign was launched that the statue was of the Duke Of Wellington, that his horse was called Copenhagen.

"When I heard the council was thinking about raising the plinth, it just made me really angry.

"There are a number of problems in Glasgow, yet the council was talking about spending £60,000 and that would not even solve the apparent problem."

Figures show that over the past four years, the council has taken 10 calls complaining about the traffic cone.

The Gallery Of Modern Art sells postcards and greetings cards featuring the cone-crowned statue.

A council spokesman said: "Putting items on the Duke Of Wellington statue may seem harmless but a fall from the statue could be very harmful.

"We would urge people considering putting anything on the statue not to do so."

caroline.wilson@ eveningtimes.co.uk