Northern Ireland

Orange order memorial damaged in Coleraine

A war memorial stone has been damaged in the grounds of an Orange hall in Coleraine, County Londonderry.

Wreaths were also ripped up in the overnight attack at the memorial garden in Killowen Orange Hall in Shuttle Hill.

The damage was discovered at 07:00 BST on Saturday.

Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.

Coleraine District Master George Duddy expressed his disgust at what had happened.

"This heinous act is not only an insult to the entire community of Coleraine but also to those who sacrificed so much on the front line so that we enjoy the freedoms we have today," he said.

"While those we remember served their country in uniform with honour, the culprits of this reprehensible deed offer nothing but shame.

"They must not be allowed to succeed and local brethren are determined their mark of respect to the war dead is re-instated to its rightful place."

Killowen lodge holds a Battle of the Somme commemoration parade in Coleraine on an annual basis.

Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson described the attack as "an act of pure depravity by small minded thugs".

"Their cowardly actions, carried out under the cover of darkness, are in stark contrast to the bravery demonstrated on the battlefields by our war heroes," he said.