SICK vandals have “beheaded” and decapitated iconic World War One statues, it has emerged today.
Vandals damaged the statues recognising the fallen war heroes on Friday night and are now being sought by police. Essex Police have appealed for witnesses after the Tommy Silhouettes were vandalised at Purfleet Garrison Community Centre between 8pm on Friday and 10am the next day.
The statues were ripped from their stands and others were broken.
Chief Inspector Natalia Ross said: “The statues were put in place to commemorate those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars.
“They were enjoyed by the community and centre visitors who wanted to pay their respects.
“Sadly, they were damaged – possibly beyond repair – in despicable acts this weekend.
“A dedicated officer has been allocated to the investigation to look into the circumstances and to find those responsible.”
Neighbourhood watch co-ordinator and Purfleet resident Lisa Wright said she was “angered, disappointed and sad” when she saw the vandalism, and has raised £300 to replace them through a fundraising page.
She said: “One row of soldiers has been ripped from its fixings and discarded and vandalised on the floor, and the other row have been beheaded.
“I was angered, disappointed and sad when I spotted that the memorial to the fallen had been vandalised.
“The plan is to replace these soldiers so any donations towards this would be gratefully received and will be passed to the Purfleet on Thames Community Forum to cover costs.”
Labour councillor Qaisar Abbas said he has donated £60 to the fundraiser and reported the vandalism to the police and Thurrock Council.
He said: “This is unbelievably sad and unacceptable. I have reported this to the police and I hope anyone who knows anything will come forward.”
The Tommy Silhouette Memorials had been organised by the Royal British Legion and was part of a project called the Silent Soldier.
It had been aimed at educating young people and heal todays war veterans who are suffering from mental health and physical wounds, by raising cash through the sale of Tommies, which are life-size silhouettes commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
The iconic figures can be found in many towns across the UK and have also been displayed outside businesses in a bid to show their support to not only the war, but the effect it has had on veterans.
On the bases of the figures are the words “Lest We Forget”.