Vandals destroy war memorial at St Leonards church

The damaged memorial
The damaged memorial

A war memorial has been left in ruins after youths vandalised it.

The memorial, dedicated to those who died in the First World War, was smashed within the grounds of St Peter and St Paul Church on the corner of Bohemia Road and Chapel Park Road on Friday afternoon (July 14).

The church is where Sonrise Church is based.

Pastors Glenn and Cathy Khan said they were left ‘shocked’ at the vandalism, which is believed to have taken place between 3pm and 4pm.

Glenn said: “The war memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in the 1914-1918 war has been a main feature within the church grounds for many years. Although overgrown when Sonrise Church moved in eight years ago, it was cleaned and cleared of the overgrowth and restored as a centrepiece.”

The heavy 8ft war memorial cross, which has a slated roof and plaque, was torn out of its concrete base and thrown over its surrounding protective metal railings where it landed onto the main walkway.

Its slate tiled roof was then smashed to smithereens and scattered through the grounds.

“This is the first real damage by vandals that we have had to deal with in the 8 years we have been here,” Glenn added.

Cathy said: “We spent Saturday clearing the grounds and making them safe for the public to use. While we were there so many in the community came to see us and expressed their disgust that people would purposefully destroy the memorial. We would like to thank all those who offered their help and support and to Papa Johns, which generously provided our team with pizza and drinks as a gesture of support.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “A number of youths were seen to run from the area following the incident, which occurred at about 3.30pm on Friday.

“Anyone with any information is asked to report it online at sussex.police.uk/appealresponse, quoting serial 955 of 14/07.”

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