A fish has been taken from a sculpture of an angler next to a canal and replaced with a golden wellington boot.
It is the second time the fish has gone missing from the public artwork, off High Street in Walsall Wood.
The structure was intended as a nod to a popular fisherman as part of an art trail involving 25 similar models which were put up on the green, opposite Brooklands Road. They were part of a £40,000 public art project which was funded by Walsall Council and carried out by Cradley-Heath-born artist Luke Perry's firm, Industrial Heritage Stronghold.
Darren Smith, director of Comfort Beds in Lichfield Road, said: "When I noticed it I just laughed to myself. The fish has gone missing before but it's never been replaced by a wellington boot."
Staff from other nearby businesses were not so amused. Steve Partridge, owner of Autumn Leaves Furniture in Walsall Road, said: "I don't think it's funny at all. It's a shame when people vandalise things. It must be kids. I don't think an adult would do that."
Jamie McMahon, manager of Affordable Signs in High Street, added: "I think it looks tacky. The statue is just a waste of taxpayers' money anyway. It looks a mess."
The copper fish first vanished just days after the statue was unveiled in February 2010, prompting fears it had been stolen. It was thought it had been vandalised but it came to light that community spirited pensioner Barbara Grant, of Beechtree Road, picked up the copper shape on the canal towpath after one of her neighbours told her it had fallen from the silhouette. She said she quickly took it to prevent metal thieves stealing it.
Walsall Council leader Mike Bird added: "I'm afraid it's a sad tail but with the budget coming up, we have bigger fish to fry. Hopefully we'll catch the individual shortly."