Futher pieces of the Olympic athlete statue stolen from Preston Park have been retrieved.

But the sculptor who created the life-size, bronze tribute to Brighton-born Olympic medallist Steve Ovett 20 years ago has said there is no way he will be able to recreate the statue.

Shortly after police retrieved the statue's left leg from a bonfire outside Anston House in Preston Road, Brighton, on Tuesday they stumbled across further pieces scattered around the area.

It appeared that chunks of the 30st one-off sculpture had been hacked off using saws to sell off as scrap.

Sculptor and adult education teacher Peter Webster, of Preston Circus, said: "It's completely and utterly gone.

There's no way to salvage it now. The rest of the sculpture has been smashed beyond recognition. There are still bits they can't find."

Police tracked down and arrested a 44-year-old woman, of no fixed abode, in connection with Friday's theft. She had attempted to sell parts of the statue to a Sussex scrap metal dealer. She was given a police caution on Thursday.

Mr Webster said that at current scrap rates, the statue could have fetched only about £100. He said: "They must have been very desperate for the money.

"It's just so strange. If it was an organised criminal art gang, I would understand. But with scrap thieves, I thought it was just brass plaques. These guys certainly weren't professional art thieves."

Mr Webster said he was disappointed police could not give a harsher sentence to the woman.

He said: "With any kind of act like this it's good to have some kind of deterrent to show it's not acceptable for any kind of antisocial behaviour whether it's theft or whatever."

Brighton and Hove City Council staff noticed the statue was missing at the weekend and alerted police.

The statue was commissed by Brighton Council tourism official Tony Hewison in 1983 to commemorate Olympic champion Steve Ovett, who trained at the park.

The cost for replacing the statue is expected to be about £30,000. The city council said it would look at the possibility of replacing it in the future.

Police are still investigating who stole the statue and how it ended up across the road from its plinth at Anston House.

If you saw anything suspicious on Friday night, when police believe the theft took place, call Sergeant Ian Brown on 0845 6070999.