Vandals damage Perth park war memorial

VANDALS have again damaged a Northern Midlands war memorial, this time cutting off the side of a soldier's slouch hat and leaving numerous rock marks on the memorial in the Perth Lions Park.

Perth Lions Park Memorial ground caretaker Stuart Green discovered the "sickening" vandalism of the 93-year-old Perth War Memorial on Thursday before alerting council and police.

He believed a thrown rock could have done the damage.

However, police and Northern Midlands RSL Sub Branch president Brian Harper believe otherwise.

"They would need a hammer or an axe to do that damage," Mr Harper said.

Longford police Senior Constable Sam Lloyd believed whoever was responsible may have climbed the memorial.

"I'd be tending to think that it has been done by youths and there's been sighting of youths hanging around the memorial grounds over the past few days," he said.

He said the damage would have been committed some time between December 31 and January 2 and police needed witnesses to come forward to investigate further.

It is the second time vandals have damaged the memorial, after the Italian marble soldier was spray- painted blue and orange in 2005, which cost the Northern Midlands RSL Sub Branch and the Northern Midlands Council about $5000 to fix.

Mr Harper said it was heartbreaking that the memorial, which was bought by the community in the early 1900s and unveiled in 1920, would have to be fixed again.

"I'd like to get hold of the people who did it, sit them down and let them know how disappointing this is to the old Diggers, the young Diggers and the community," Mr Harper said.

Northern Midlands Mayor Kim Polley said the offence was despicable.

"These soldiers died to protect our freedom and what the country is today," Cr Polley said.

"I hope the person who did this reflects upon what they have done and owns up.

"We (the council) will be doing whatever we can to restore it."

Labor tabled legislation in November to make interfering with a war memorial a specific offence carrying a penalty of up to 12 months imprisonment and $1300 in fines, but it was never passed.

Liberal veteran affairs spokesman Adam Brooks said a majority Hodgman Liberal government would make toughening up laws against vandals who desecrate war memorials a priority.

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to contact Longford Police on 63911744 or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.

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