SUNDERLAND’S iconic Penshaw Monument has been targeted by vandals.
Slogans were daubed along three sides of the 170-year-old folly sometime on Saturday night.
Coun John Scott, whose ward covers the monument, condemned the attack and vowed the city council would do whatever it could to help the clean-up.
“It is absolutely abhorrent that such a beautiful monument should be attacked in this year,” he said.
“It is ridiculous.
The monument has been in the possession of the National Trust since it was handed over by the fifth Earl of Durham in 1939. Now trust bosses face a hefty bill to clean it up.
Area Ranger Gareth Wilson said: “At some time on Saturday evening, large areas of Penshaw Monument have been daubed in graffiti.
“Hundreds of people visit this place for its views, to enjoy a day out alongside such a beautiful structure. It’s disgraceful that an individual has chosen to do this to such an iconic symbol of the North East.
“We are working with a specialist in removing graffiti, who will hopefully be able to do the work as soon as possible, but at considerable cost to the National Trust.
“If anyone has any information, they should contact Northumbria Police as this is now a criminal matter.”
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “A report that red paint had been sprayed on Penshaw Monument came into us on Sunday. It is believed to have happened between 5.30pm on Saturday and 9.30am on Sunday.
“We are now asking for any witnesses to contact us on 101 ext 69191, quoting reference 718 of July 27.”
Penshaw Monument – officially The Earl of Durham’s Monument – was built in 1844 by Charles Vane, third Marquess of Londonderry.
A half-scale replica of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, it is dedicated to the memory of John Lambton (1792–1840), the First Earl of Durham.