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A giant sandcastle built on Weymouth beach to mark 100 days to the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games was demolished just hours after it was finished because of health and safety fears.

The fort took a sculptor four days to build in Dorset, where sailing events will be held, but as soon as publicity pictures were taken the structure was bulldozed.

Officials feared that the castle, paid for by the organising committee for the games, Locog, could topple and injure someone. If they had fenced it off, they felt they would have had to bring in security guards to make sure people did not venture too close.

A spokesperson for Weymouth and Portland borough council said the aim had been simply to provide an “iconic photo image” for the world’s media rather than an enduring attraction.

The spokesperson said: “As a safety precaution the sandcastle was dismantled immediately after the photo shoot. Images of the sandcastle have generated media interest across the globe and have helped to secure significant coverage for Weymouth and Portland and Dorset, showcasing the Jurassic coast, the historic Georgian esplanade and the golden sands of Weymouth beach.

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