Vandals spray IRA graffiti on Captain Sir Tom Moore memorial

Vandals spray IRA graffiti on Captain Sir Tom Moore memorial
‘Thugs who commit such thoughtless acts insult the memory of all those who fought for the freedoms they enjoy,’ says Northern Ireland secretary

Police are appealing for information after vandals sprayed graffiti reading “IRA” over a life-size memorial to the late Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Members of the public said they were disgusted and sickened by the disrespect shown to Sir Tom, who became a national hero when he raised almost £33m for NHS charities at the start of the pandemic.

The silhouette-style black sculpture was erected at a Derbyshire nature reserve soon after Sir Tom died in February, aged 100.

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis branded the behaviour “deplorable”, adding: “The thugs who commit such thoughtless acts insult the memory of all those who fought so bravely for the freedoms they enjoy, including Captain Tom Moore.”

Anthony Ball, who found the vandalism while walking in Hatton, said it made him feel “physically sick” and he quickly covered it up.

Captain Sir Tom Moore captured the world’s attention with his fundraising efforts (PA)

Austin Cox, of AGC Fabrications, a stainless-steel company which made the memorial, said: “I would like to say how disgusted the team are by the actions of a mindless person.

“Sir Tom was an inspiration to us all during the beginning of the pandemic, and to see the disrespect by someone on our take of a memorial for him upsets us all and the community.

“We would like the culprit to know that we have the resources to repaint, repair or replace Sir Tom and we will continue to do so.”

Mr Ball, chairman of the Dove Valley Community Project, added: “I had to go back home and fetch a bin bag to put on him. I couldn’t let people see him with that graffiti on, it’s not nice,” he said.

“I hope they’re pleased with themselves. It’s beyond belief.”

He believed the sculpture was vandalised overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Derbyshire Police have appealed for information about the vandals.

Sir Tom captured the nation’s hearts by walking around his garden with his mobility frame in the first lockdown, initially hoping to raise £1,000 for NHS charities before his 100th birthday on 30 April last year.

The Second World War veteran was made an honorary colonel and knighted in recognition of his work.

AGC Fabrications has previously donated a soldier statue to replace a war memorial stolen in the village.

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