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‘It hurts my heart’ - Vandals destroy war memorials less than 48 hours after unveiling

PUBLISHED: 13:10 26 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:45 26 October 2018

The Tommy silhouette tributes in Market Place, Great Yarmouth, have been destroyed overnight. Sidney Hart of the RBL. Photo: James Carr.

The Tommy silhouette tributes in Market Place, Great Yarmouth, have been destroyed overnight. Sidney Hart of the RBL. Photo: James Carr.

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Vandals have destroyed a series of perspex statues installed to honour British soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice – less than 48 hours after they were unveiled.

The Tommy silhouette tributes in Market Place, Great Yarmouth, have been destroyed overnight. Photo: James Carr.The Tommy silhouette tributes in Market Place, Great Yarmouth, have been destroyed overnight. Photo: James Carr.

On Wednesday, 10 Tommy silhouette statues were revealed in Great Yarmouth’s Market Place to mark the launch of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

However people of the town were left appalled this morning when they discovered half the statues had fallen victim to “disgraceful” vandals.

Four statues have been snapped completely in half while another was left with a large crack.

Great Yarmouth mayor Mary Coleman slammed the vandals for the “untold hurt” their actions have caused.

The Tommy silhouette tributes in Market Place, Great Yarmouth, have been destroyed overnight. Photo: James Carr.The Tommy silhouette tributes in Market Place, Great Yarmouth, have been destroyed overnight. Photo: James Carr.

She said: “I, along with the large majority of decent-minded people in our borough, am absolutely outraged by this wanton destruction.

“These symbols are harmless reminders of the men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we can have the freedom we do to live our lives in peace and security 100 years later.

“These Tommies are a huge talking point, helping many to remember but also prompting the youngsters to ask questions ensuring the memories and lessons learned are passed on from generation to generation.

“This vandalism has caused untold hurt to many people.”

The Tommy silhouette tributes in Market Place, Great Yarmouth, have been destroyed overnight. Photo: James Carr.The Tommy silhouette tributes in Market Place, Great Yarmouth, have been destroyed overnight. Photo: James Carr.

The statues are part of the national ‘There But Not There’ campaign which supports the armed forced and mental health charities.

Irene Williams, secretary of Great Yarmouth’s Royal British Legion (RBL), said she cannot understand what would drive people to damage the statues.

She said: “It’s only a few mindless people that do stuff like this.

“I am totally surprised after the launch on Wednesday; it was such a success and people were so pleased to se them.

“We are very, very disappointed at what people can do at this time of year but we will stoop and build them up again with worn out tools.”

RBL member Sidney Hart added: “It hurts my heart and a lot of other members of the British Legion and veterans that this sort of thing has happened within 48 hours of these being put up in Great Yarmouth.”

The damaged statues have since been removed by Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting reference number 366698318.

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