VANDALS have been slammed for taking pot shots at a memorial set up by volunteers to mark the 100th anniversary of World War One.
A team at Easington Lane Access Point spent three months working on the project, with the finished piece and its garden unveiled on August 4.
Now the group has been left furious after discovering damage to the metalwork of the sculpture, which shows three rifles and features a genuine helmet worn during the conflict.
Michelle Bains, centre manager, said: “It’s upsetting for the volunteers because they have put so much work and time into it.
“They worked on it from the beginning, got the garden finished, and then of course there are the other organisations that helped us with it.
“It’s just disheartening, especially as it’s in our grounds where we thought it would be safe and they would have had to come through.”
In addition to help in kind, the group raised £250 through donations, with a further £175 spent on planting up the garden.
Visitors and staff at the centre first noticed a problem when they found the remains of rabbits and birds in the grounds before realising the memorial had also been targeted.
They have since painted over the damage, although dints in the metal are still visible.
Police are investigating the attack at the Brick Garth complex and believe the damage was caused by an air weapon.
Houghton Neighbourhood Inspector Lisa Musgrove said: “This is an upsetting crime. For someone to take what appears to be ‘pot shots’ at a war memorial is a particularly callous act.
“The damage to the memorial is not just costly to repair, but more than that is the emotional upset of this act.
“We are appealing for witnesses to this incident. We’d like to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area to contact police.
“These sorts of crimes also affect the wider community, especially as we’re now coming up to Remembrance Day, and the focus is once again on those who died serving their country.”
The damage occurred between Monday, September 29 and Sunday, October 12. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, extension 69191, quoting log number 498 of 17/10/14 or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.