Cops hunt for two women after life-size cut-out of hunk is pinched

February 26, 2010

Feb 26 2010 By Rory Reynolds

A LIFE-SIZE wooden cut-out of Scottish tourism’s new poster boy was kidnapped at a campaign launch.

Two women made off with the 6ft 3in model at a party to mark VisitScotland’s new £1.25million marketing drive at the Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.

The culprits, believed to be in their 60s, were seen bundling the image of Derek West, the hotel’s concierge, into a taxi on Wednesday.

Security staff are now scouring CCTV footage of the event which was attended by around 90 people.

The government tourism agency have now offered to donate £100 to charity in exchange for the safe return of the cut-out hunk.

Derek, 32, said: “Our restaurant manager came over and said, ‘You’ve just been stolen’.

“One of the porters at the front desk had asked the two ladies if they were OK and they said they were waiting for a taxi.

“When he turned away, it was under the arm and straight into a cab with me.”

The hotel’s owner, James Thomson, added: “These are probably not the first guests at Prestonfield to want to take Derek home with them.”

The Meet The Scots campaign to attract European visitors is the most expensive ever undertaken by VisitScotland.

Derek’s image is one of 14 friendly Scots.

Other faces of the campaign include the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, golfer Gary Forbes, whisky expert Julie Trevisan-Hunter and top chef Tony Singh.

A spokeswoman for VisitScotland said: “Derek is a fantastic ambassador for Scottish tourism so we would like him back please.”

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