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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
Vandals target two historic sites
A vandalised stone and tree at Winterbourne Abbas
Fathers 4 Justice strenuously deny any involvement in the vandalism
Two historic sites in Dorset have been targeted by vandals who have covered them in graffiti.

The ancient Nine Stones circle, beside the A35 at Winterbourne Abbas, near Dorchester, was targeted overnight.

Dorset Police said white paint was also sprayed on the Hardy Monument near Portesham, erected in 1844 in memory of Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy.

The graffiti includes the "F4J" slogan of Fathers 4 Justice, but the group strenuously denies any involvement.

Five of the stone circles were targeted.

Shaun Flaherty, who works for a sub-contractor of English Heritage that looks after the stone circles site, called the graffiti "a disgrace".

The stones lie beside the A35 and are surrounded by trees, one of which was also covered in paint.

This could be a smear campaign against Fathers 4 Justice
Matt O'Connor, Fathers 4 Justice

Mr Flaherty, who was at the site to asses the damage, said: "There are five stones written on. It's very bad.

"I think it's a disgrace - they've got no respect."

The Hardy Monument was also targeted with the "F4J" slogan, Dorset Police said.

The monument commemorates Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy's achievements as captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Matt O'Connor, of Fathers 4 Justice, said the vandalism was nothing to do with the group, which campaigns for fathers' rights.

"This could be a smear campaign against Fathers 4 Justice," he said.

Tor tower targeted

"We would just say to people, judge us by the actions which we always put our hands up to."

On 11 October, two Fathers 4 Justice protesters were fined for climbing on to the ancient Wiltshire monument, Stonehenge.

Richard West, 40, of Ottery St Mary, Devon, and Jolly Stanesby, 36, from Ivybridge, Devon, scaled the monument in February.

They were found guilty of unlawfully climbing a national monument at Salisbury Magistrates' Court and fined 100 each with 100 costs.

Graffiti sprayed on to a tower on Glastonbury Tor has also been removed this month at a cost of 2,000.

The southern face of St Michael's Tower was targeted overnight on 1 October after 500,000 was recently spent restoring the building.

Fathers 4 Justice confirmed one of its sympathisers was responsible.

Stonehenge protest fathers fined
11 Oct 07 |  Wiltshire
Tower's graffiti is cleaned off
05 Oct 07 |  Somerset
Purple paint vandals target Tor
01 Oct 07 |  Somerset

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