Police search for war memorial attacker

Graffiti scrawled on a Leyland war memorial has outraged families of heroes whose names appear on the monument.

Tuesday, 4th December 2018, 8:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th December 2018, 9:20 am
Graffiti on the war memorial

The desecration of the memorial has been described as “disgraceful” and “disrespectful”.

The wording - which has now been removed - appeared to say ‘Best in the world’.

The damage has been reported to Lancashire Police.

Honoured on the memorial are Gordon Yates, Korea 1951; Michael David Love, Falklands 1982; Stephen Robert Wright Iraq 2006; Paul Warren Afghanistan 2010.

Marine Paul Warren, from Charlie Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, was killed in Afghanistan on Monday, June 21, 2010.

He was injured in an explosion when Patrol Base Airport Lounge was attacked by insurgents.

Corp Michael Love, of 846 Royal Air Squadron, died aged 22.

He was killed in a helicopter crash due to a bird strike.

He was awarded a posthumous Distinguished Service Medal for displaying “remarkable skill, bravery and resilience during periods of intense activity” which his family went to Buckingham Palace to collect from the Queen.

Cliff Warren reported the graffiti to the council.

And on the Facebook public page Leyland Memories, he said the wording was “totally irrelevant”.

“To write on any memorial is objectionable and one of the lowest things to do,” he said.

The brother of Corp Love, Peter Love, messaged: “We never got his body back he was buried at sea off the Canberra, so this is the only place I can go to talk to him when I need a chat and believe me I think about him every day.

“It may be 36 years and I have never missed a year but the pain is still there x."

Peter, who lives in Whittle-le-Woods, told the Guardian he learned about the attack on Facebook.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he said. “I couldn’t read what it was saying. It’s still a sick thing to do regardless. There’s no need for that in this day and age.”

He added: “There must be CCTV round there somewhere.

“I’ve laid a wreath for the last 36 years and never missed a year.”

A spokesperson for South Ribble Borough Council said: “It was reported to us by Mr Warren.

“It’s been reported to the police due to the fact it’s criminal damage.

“It was put on in felt pen, so we’ve had to use brick acid because it’s quite stubborn.

“We’re going to keep going back until it’s completely removed.

“We’ve got the worst off and are going to go back until it’s one hundred per cent removed.”

The graffiti was written on a sandstone block added to the war memorial on Church Road, opposite St Andrew’s Church, in 2010, for those fallen in conflicts since the world wars.

Lancashire Police said: “We received a report from the council that unknown suspects had written on the war memorial sometime between 8am and 10am on November 23. The damage is reported at £200.”

*The stained glass window war memorial at Astley Park in Chorley was smashed twice in the last fortnight after stones were found thrown through the window.

Chorley Council said it was increasing security in the area.