‘De­spi­ca­ble’ war graves van­dals hunted by po­lice

AN­ZAC head­stones are sprayed with blue paint

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Clemen­tine kather­ine.clemen­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

PO­LICE are ‘ac­tively hunt­ing’ the sick in­di­vid­u­als who have des­e­crated Aus­tralian and New Zealand Army Corps (AN­ZAC) graves in Harefield.

Head­stones were daubed with blue paint at the week­end in the sec­ond at­tack at the ceme­tery this year, fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent in May when a flag pole was sawed and a me­mo­rial panel was pep­pered with paint.

Harefield coun­cil­lor Jane Palmer, who dis­cov­ered the lat­est out­rage on Sun­day, said she was re­duced to tears.

She said: “The AN­ZAC graves are a very, very big part of Harefield vil­lage. It’s some­thing we’ve been brought up with and brought up to re­spect and when they’re des­e­crated like that peo­ple take it very, very se­ri­ously.

“The com­mu­nity will come to­gether as a re­sult of it and they’re very an­gry at what’s been done. Peo­ple were com­ing down to look at it while I was there and were, ob­vi­ously, vis­i­bly moved by it.”

Cllr Palmer is li­ais­ing with po­lice and is call­ing on Hilling­don Coun­cil to do some­thing to pro­tect the com­mu­nity from fu­ture in­ci­dents.

She added: “The com­mu­nity can be as­sured that my­self and my fel­low ward coun­cil­lors will be do­ing all we can to make sure this doesn’t hap­pen again.”

Rob Bryan, Neigh­bour­hood In­spec­tor for Hilling­don North, called the spray paint at­tack “de­spi­ca­ble” and said any­one with in­for­ma­tion should not standby and do noth­ing but should con­tact po­lice im­me­di­ately.

He said: “The des­e­cra­tion of war graves is a de­spi­ca­ble crime and we will be ac­tively hunt­ing those re­spon­si­ble.

“I would ask any­one who has in­for­ma­tion that could solve this crime to make con­tact with us, ei­ther by con­tact­ing me at rob.bryan@met.po­lice.uk or by con­tact­ing Crimes­top­pers anony­mously.

“I di­rectly ap­peal to those re­spon­si­ble to do the right thing and hand them­selves in now.”

Julie Whe­lan, who reg­u­larly vis­its the church­yard and has a rel­a­tive buried there, said she was sad­dened and hor­ri­fied.

She said: “I find it hard to be­lieve that any­one who grew up in the vil­lage would be so dis­re­spect­ful, given that the chil­dren of the vil­lage still take flow­ers to the AN­ZAC graves ev­ery year.”

An­thony Whyte, also of Harefield, added: “It is a sad state of af­fairs when there is an ob­vi­ous need for CCTV in a ceme­tery, but I guess this is a sign of the times.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion should call po­lice on 101 quot­ing ref­er­ence num­ber 0923805/15.

The des­e­cra­tion of war graves is a de­spi­ca­ble crime”

n DAM­AGE: Coun­cil­lor Jane Palmer tweeted this im­age of the van­dalised AN­ZAC war graves in Harefield

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