Damage to the fountain in Plaça Sant Felip Neri in Barcelona

The capital of the circular column was found in the water on Sunday

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The fountain of the Santo Felipe Neri square, this morning

BarcelonaWhile the mystery of who stole a wrought iron dragon from Baixada de Santa Eulàlia still lingers around Barcelona's Barri Gòtic, the neighbours discovered a new attack to the area's heritage yesterday: the fountain of Sant Felip Neri square was vandalised on Saturday night. For reasons that no one can explain, the capitel of the central column – which initially held a sculpture stolen years ago – fell into the water and broke. "They don't respect anything," neighbourhood platform Fem Gòtic lamented on Twitter, where it asked the City Council to react quickly so that no one could steal the broken part and further hinder the reconstruction of the fountain.

This morning at nine o'clock, when the students of the Sant Felip Neri School went into class, the detached part was still in the water, but by mid-morning it had been removed. The City Council has confirmed that it has recovered the piece and that it will be necessary to evaluate its condition to assess how to restore it.

"We don't know what happened, perhaps someone climbed on the fountain to take a photo or some absurd game.... Luckily, they did not take the broken part," Eva Vila, from Fem Gòtic, explained this morning. The usual groups of tourists continued to contemplate the fountain today, oblivious to the disappearance of the top of the column.

It is not the first time that someone attacked the fountain. In fact, the capitel that was broken no longer held a statue after the two that were placed there, both the work of Josep Miret, were removed. The first, an image of Saint Severus, disappeared shortly after the fountain's inauguration in 1962, and the second, smaller, was entitled The Student and was also stolen a few years afterwards. The statues were not replaced and it is the empty pedestal which has suffered the attack.

The neighbours informed the City Council of the damage through the app for reporting incidents and insisted this morning on the need to take urgent measures to prevent further damage. "It is a heritage issue," they warned.

The Associació de Veïns del Gòtic also point out that they do not know what could have caused the damage but that in any case what is needed is to intervene quickly to preserve heritage, although they insist that any element located in the public space is exposed to damage and that it is not the first time it happens to this fountain.