Yobs have daubed a memorial to our fallen war heroes with graffiti in the latest in a string of vandal attacks at a Leeds cemetery.
A specialist team of masons began a three-day clean-up operation at Hunslet Cemetery yesterday, where the Cross of Sacrifice has been painted with a crude noughts and crosses pattern.
Officials at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, who have sent the team to clean the cross, say they get around four calls to the same cemetery every year.
This time vandals used such heavy duty silver paint that usual cleaning methods were not working and the team had to be sent.
Works supervisor Steve Nellany said the job would cost up to £400.
He added: “Unfortunately this is not a rare occurrence. Noughts and crosses make a change from the type of obscene language that appears three or four times a year.
“The trouble this time is that it’s proving much harder to remove so it’ll take our works team up to three days to get rid of it.”
Once the Cross of Sacrifice is cleaned up, a special anti-graffiti coating will be applied to reduce its adhesiveness, making any future graffiti easier to remove.
The CWGC media and PR manager Matt Morris said: “This type of vandalism is still rare.
“Most people respect the work of the commission in commemorating the sacrifice of the fallen from the two world wars.
“But it is very sad when it does happen and it is frustrating for our works teams who have enough on their plates without dealing with graffiti.
“But the people of Leeds can be sure that the Cross of Sacrifice in Hunslet Cemetery will be restored to its proper condition.”
The cemetery is one of 13,000 sites in the UK containing the graves of commonwealth war dead.
It contains only three First World War burials, although there are many more in the old cemetery opposite. The Second World War burials number 72 and are scattered throughout the cemetery.