Uproar as metal thieves damage tribute to war heroes

MINDLESS: Vandals damaged the sword which is at the side of the war memorial outside Elmfield Park on December 15.

MINDLESS: Vandals damaged the sword which is at the side of the war memorial outside Elmfield Park on December 15.

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CALLOUS vandals damaged one of the town’s historic war memorials in a botched metal theft attempt.

Residents were said to be shocked and stunned after seeing that the bronze sword on the side of the monument in Bennetthorpe was bent out of shape.

REPAIR: Doncaster Council workers Ian Kerrison (top) and Ben Russell reattach the repaired sword after it was vandalised on December 15.

REPAIR: Doncaster Council workers Ian Kerrison (top) and Ben Russell reattach the repaired sword after it was vandalised on December 15.

Thieves damaged the 5ft 4in piece in what is understood to have been an attempt to steal the item. However, they could not prise it from its stand.

Elected mayor Peter Davies said it was a “selfish desecration” of the memorial outside Elmfield Park.

Doncaster Council workers were sent to repair the damage.

They removed the sword from the stand in order to make the repairs by using heat treatment to restore it back into its original shape.

They then re-attached it to the monument.

Mr Davies said: “Doncaster residents will be shocked and disgusted by the selfish desecration of this war memorial by thieves.

“However, I am pleased to see that council staff repaired the damage quickly and the memorial is back to how it should be.”

Jeff Swift, chairman of the Sprotbrough branch of the Royal British Legion, told the Free Press he was saddened by the news.

He said: “That monument represents people who have made the ultimate sacrifice and for people to go and do something like that is not on, they obviously didn’t think about what that memorial means to people.

“It’s very sad that we have people in the community who would do something like this.

“Thankfully it’s been rectified and hopefully it will not happen again.”

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police confirmed that the December 15 incident had been reported and that detectives were continuing to investigate the matter.

The borough has been subjected to several metal thefts over the past year with homes, churches and firms being targeted.

Companies including those sited at Hayfield Business Park have been hit more than once over the past two months by copper crooks.

Business owners were forced to send staff home because they had no phonelines and the internet could not be used.

Police officers and BT engineers have also been called out on several occasions to deal with cable thefts which have left homes in areas such as Lindholme, Hatfield and Stainforth isolated with no phoneline connection.