Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 17:38 UK

War memorial vandalism 'insult'

Alan Woodcock surveys the damage to the memorial at Llantwit, Neath
Alan Woodcock surveys the damage to the memorial at Llantwit, Neath

Vandalism of three war memorials in one south Wales community is being described as an "insult" to soldiers both past and present.

Monuments at the Gnoll, Briton Ferry, and at Llantwit in the Neath area have all been targeted this week.

The local chairman of the Royal British Legion said the vandalism had made him feel physically sick.

Detectives say they believe the incidents were by the same gang, who may have been seeking scrap metal.

It is thought the attacks on the memorials took place between 1700 BST on Tuesday and 1230 BST on Wednesday.

At each sites metal fittings, including plaques listing the names of fallen soldiers, were stolen.

We do get a number of incidents throughout time where they have pinched scrap metal but this in particular is an outrageous incident
Sergeant Simon Merrick

Looking at the broken bits of masonry, Alan Woodcock, the local Royal British legion chairman, said the memorial at Llantwit was beyond repair.

He said the damage was "horrendous".

"It just doesn't bear thinking about why people should do these kind of things. it's just mindless.

"To be quite honest it made me feel physically sick and I haven['t eaten properly (since), that's what it meant to me.

"I'd like to publically flog them and I 'd be first in the line to do it," Mr Woodcock said.

South Wales Police are linking all three attacks.

Three war memorials in the Neath area have been vandalised by thieves stealing metal for scrap

Sgt Simon Merrick said: "We have a number of avenues that we're looking into.

"I've got a team of officers that are investigating it. It would appear that the course of action that these individuals have taken is for monetary reasons. It would seem that they have taken the implements to sell them on for scrap."

He said it was a different kind of crime from normal scrap metal thefts.

"We do get a number of incidents throughout time where they have pinched scrap metal but this in particular is an outrageous incident. It is despicable."

He appealed for anyone with information about the vandalism to come forward

The War Memorials Commission have said believe that the high price for recovered metal may behind a spate of similar incidents across the UK.



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