Scottish Water is reassuring concerned councillors that security fencing will be used to protect a memorial of poet Robert Burns during a multi-million pound improvement scheme.

The company is putting a deep shaft on Irvine Moor and is building two pumping stations as part of a £30 million programme to improve water supply in Irvine, the Irvine Herald reports.

Councillor Matthew Brown has said he will sue Scottish Water if the historic statue is damaged during the work and wants assurances that a risk assessment has been carried out.

"This is an important piece of the town's history and if the statue shows any sign of damage, then I will be going to court to raise an action against Scottish Water," Mr Brown told the newspaper.

But Scottish Water says it is fully aware of the significance of the statue and had taken appropriate measures to protect it.

"Our work is separated physically from the monument by the use of appropriate fencing so vehicles are not travelling immediately adjacent to it," a spokesperson told the newspaper.

"We are taking all the necessary precautions to protect the monument."

Scotland's national poet has a strong connection with Irvine. As a 22-year-old he moved there in search of work in 1781 and every January, the month of his birth, a wreath is laid at the town's statue.ADNFCR-3337-ID-800446936-ADNFCR