In pictures: Paint attack on Larne War Memorial

Vandalism at Larne War Memorial.
Vandalism at Larne War Memorial.

An incident of vandalism at Larne’s War Memorial has been condemned as "shameful."

Paint was thrown during an overnight attack on the cenotaph near St Cedma’s Church, which commemorates those who died in the two world wars.

Paint is splattered on the ground.

Paint is splattered on the ground.

The monument, which was similarly targeted last year, had only recently undergone significant refurbishment in time for Remembrance Sunday.

Commenting on the incident, Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart said: "Those responsible for this shameful and pathetic attack have nothing to offer anyone and clearly have no concept for the values of equality and respect.

"If they had any concept of history they would recognise that the cenotaph represents the sacrifice made by men and women from all backgrounds to preserve our freedom and way of life. A freedom they take for granted."

DUP Assemblyman Gordon Lyons added: "The people of Larne will be outraged by the behaviour of these small minded vandals, who have caused great upset to people across the town and beyond."

Damage to the bronze plate.

Damage to the bronze plate.

The attack was branded "totally unacceptable" by Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid. “I’m appalled and disgusted at those responsible for this attack, not only on the Larne cenotaph, but also on the memory of those who died serving their country during two world wars," he added.

"Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is working with police and I would urge anyone with any information to contact the PSNI as soon as possible.”

The incident is "distressing" for local residents who have seen the memorial attacked twice in just 18 months, according to Alliance Party MLA, Stewart Dickson. "If we are to have a truly united community, this vandalism needs to stop," he said.

It is understood that a specialist contractor will be tasked with removing the paint from the cenotaph, with the cost of repairs expected to run into thousands of pounds.

A Mid and East Antrim Borough Council spokesperson said: “It’s very disappointing that this damage has been caused so soon after major refurbishment work. The full scale and costs of the damage are still being assessed; cleaning is due to get underway today and is expected to be completed by early next week.”

Police have confirmed the incident is being treated as a hate crime.

"If you have any information please contact police on 101 and quote serial 246 7/12/17," a PSNI spokesperson said.