VANDALS have scrawled swastikas and homophobic graffiti over a war memorial in Flint.

It was discovered on Monday, March 11, that the First World War Soldier statue, by Flint Castle, had been defaced with several of the offensive Nazi symbols and its accompanying letter branded with homophobic language.

The artwork sits on a bench overlooking the foreshore reading a letter from a loved one and was designed by a local artist, Mike Owen.

It has been in place since last summer to pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.

The Leader:

The First World War memorial that has been targeted by vandals. Pictures: Geoff Abbott

Cllr Ian Roberts, representing the Castle ward in Flint, said: "These acts of despicable vandalism always come at a cost to the community but it important to stress that we will not be beaten by these individuals and their disgusting behaviour.

"We appeal to the dog walkers and frequent walkers to notify the authorities if they spotted anything suspicious on the day in question and remain vigilant into the future."

Cllr Roberts said the soldier’s letter has since been removed to be cleaned. Plans are in place to clean off the damage done to the statue’s body but, if they cannot be removed, they will be painted over to avoid ruining the artwork further.

The Leader:

Vandals have drawn swastikas on a First World War memorial statue at Flint Castle

Andrew Farrow, chief officer for planning, environment and economic development, said the benches have been well received by the local community and visitors and is disappointing to see the act of vandalism.

He added: "The Council’s Countryside Service Team will arrange for repair work to be carried out on the bench and statue as soon as possible."

This incident comes after vandals struck at the Connah’s Quay and Shotton war memorial on Monday, March 4 in which they defaced the plaque with a swastika, causing outrage across the town.

Connah's Quay Town Council said despite the rain washing most of the paint off, the outline can still be seen.

The Leader:

Swastika graffiti can still be seen at the Connah's Quay and Shotton war memorial

Officers from Flintshire Council's Streetscene have tried to clean what they can but are limited to what they can do without causing damage.

A specialist cleaning company has offered to remove the remains of the 'scandalous' graffiti.

Councillor Gary Cooper, Chair of Shotton Town Council, said: "There's not a lot we can do about it. Streetscene has done the best they can under the circumstances.

"It's absolutely outrageous what this perpetrator has done. They are obviously showing no respect for the area of Shotton and the surviving family members of the fallen soldiers.

"At the end of the day, someone has to pay for it and if need be, I would certainly support Shotton Town Council helping to pay."

Councillors are in discussion with the specialist cleaning company to see what can be done with the memorial.

Connah's Quay councillor, Ian Dunbar who is the treasurer of the Connah's Quay and Shotton Interservices Committee, added: "We've had such a gathering around that memorial for the Remembrance Services and to see some idiots do that to it was very disrespectful and disgusting to most people in Deeside.

"I had an unexpected email from a cleaning firm in Kent. They offered their services because we've got to be very careful when we clean the memorial because we need special stuff.

"The war memorial itself is getting a bit jaded and we have asked the clerk if the whole memorial could be cleaned up."

Cllr Dunbar said the Committee met recently and members were outraged with the issue.

He said: "Since we took over the organising of the services it has had a great response. The Civic Hall has been rammed full and it's only a select few that ruin it.

"We rarely have problems with the memorial and vandalism so it's disgusting to see something like that by a certain amount of idiots to the soldiers who gave their lives.

"We are pleased with what will happen and hopefully we can prevent that from happening again."