A WIGAN war memorial has been damaged by vandals in the build-up to commemorations of the centenary of the First World War.
Yobs lobbed a can of white paint over Platt Bridge’s monument to the fallen during a late-night outrage.
Police and council officials have been told of the attack and residents are now being urged to help capture those responsible.
War veterans today expressed their shock at the senseless act of vandalism.
Royal British Legion branch chairman Coun John Hilton said: “I reckon the heads of those who have done this are as empty as that paint can now is.
“This is disgracefully disrespectful and totally unacceptable and I hope the book is thrown at them if we can identify the culprits. I know just what I would do if I ever managed to find them.”
Pensioner Edith Willcock, who lost two relatives in the Great War, alerted the authorities, via independent councillor Bob Brierley, after discovering the attack on the Neville Street memorial on Monday morning.
Mrs Willcock, 76, of Walthew Lane, a volunteer for Marie Curie, said: “When I went past and I saw that somebody had thrown white paint over it and I can’t tell you how angry I felt.
“I’m disgusted with a lot of the things that go on around here, but this is one of the worst.
“The council had already painted the railings around it and they were looking very smart and now this happens.
“I lost two relatives in the first war, one on my dad’s side and the other on my mother’s side, so I feel very, very strongly that these men have given their lives for the country and should be treated with a lot more respect.”
Council chiefs, who have already agreed to a refurbishment of borough war memorials as part of the First World War centenary commemorations, are now planning a clean-up.
Steve Normington, Wigan Council’s director of economy, said: “It’s upsetting to hear that such an important memorial has been damaged, our officers have been to assess the damage and are now arranging for it to be repaired as soon as possible.”
It is hoped footage of the attack will have been captured by the council’s nearby CCTV cameras.
A host of commemorative events are set to take place throughout the Wigan borough this year to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.