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Boris Johnson criticises 'despicable' Thrapston WW1 memorial vandalism

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image copyrightReuters
image captionBoris Johnson said the community had "responded magnificently" to the incident

The prime minister has written to a town council to express "distress" at the "awful vandalism" of its war memorial.

The head of a silhouette of a World War One soldier at the memorial in Thrapston, Northamptonshire, was ripped off overnight on 12 November.

Boris Johnson said the "despicable action" was "all the more egregious in the week of Remembrance Day".

Thrapston Town Council said getting the letter was a "really lovely surprise".

Clerk Linda Marshall said: "We were delighted [the damage] had been acknowledged at that level."

image copyrightThrapston Town Council

The "silent soldier" was a piece created by the British Legion in 2018 to mark 100 years since the end of World War One.

As well as damage to the silhouette, flowers had been ripped from surrounding plant pots.

image copyrightThrapston Town Council
image captionThe head of the silhouette was ripped off overnight on 12 November

An online campaign has raised nearly £5,000 for a replacement, after residents said they were "heartbroken".

In a letter to councillor Karen Draycott, the prime minister said he was "distressed to hear about the awful vandalism of the war memorial" which had been brought to his attention by Tom Pursglove, the Conservative MP for Corby.

"To attack a war memorial is a despicable action and it is all the more egregious in the week of Remembrance Day, when our whole nation should be focused on paying tribute to the bravery and heroism of our Armed Forces past and present," he said.

"I know that the community of Thrapston has responded magnificently to this incident and has already raised considerable funds to ensure that a replacement is erected."

Ms Marshall said the town council, in conjunction with the community, was considering what to do with the extra funds raised.

Northamptonshire Police said a 24-year-old man arrested on suspicion of criminal damage had been released on bail.

image copyrightThrapston Town Council
image captionThe silhouette of a World War One soldier had been "damaged beyond repair", police said

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