‘MINDLESS’ vandals sparked outrage after they badly damaged a prominent war memorial.

Two heavy concrete posts which surround the cenotaph in Bold Venture park in Darwen were knocked over.

Blue paint was also sprayed across memorial benches in the park, obscuring the names of those that they pay tribute to.

On other benches, the offenders were even so brazen as to spray paint the names “Ben” and “Krissy”, prompting a Facebook campaign from residents who hope to find the vandals.

The tall monument is a striking feature of Darwen’s popular park and stands in solemn tribute to those servicemen who lost their lives during the First World War.

Graham Melia, who has lived in Bold Venture for all of his 47 years, said: “It’s just disgusting.

“Whoever did this is a disgrace to Darwen and to England.

“I walk my dog in the park every day. It’s a lovely park and I’m so angry that people would try to ruin it.

“They are utter mindless idiots and have no respect to Darwen people or the men who fought in the war.”

Graham, who is a part-owner of Mister Fu’s restaurant in Blackburn Road, was so incensed that he searched for ‘Ben’ and ‘Krissy’ on Facebook and urged his friends to do the same.

Graham added: “They spray painted these names all over the place. Somebody has got to know who they are and I bet their parents won’t be pleased.

“I want them caught.”

Chris Keane, who was enjoying the park in yesterday’s sunshine, said: “It’s just really sad.

“There have been issues on here before with teenagers drinking and they even set fire to one of the swings a few months back.

“Kids are going to be kids at the end of the day, but to wreck a war memorial, it’s just terrible.”

Darwen councillor and Champion for Armed Forces and Veterans, Trevor Maxfield, said: “It’s a gross insult to our war dead.

“I think the people responsible have no idea about the sacrifices that were made in the past and it is absolutely disgusting.”

The vandalism was reported to the police yesterday morning and they are now liasing with the council to catch the culprits.

President of the Darwen British Legion, Lawrence Gilbertson, said that the vandalism was particularly distressing, considering the emphasis being placed on remembrance this year.

Mr Gilbertson said: “It’s a sad sign of the times.

“People have no respect for anything these days and young people want respect from others without giving it to anyone.

“It is even more upsetting when you consider that this year marks 100 years since the First World War started and the memorial would have undoubtedly been used for the commemorative events we are planning.

“It has also just been the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

“It is unthinkable that people could do this to a structure that was placed there to honour all those who died for us.”

The displaced concrete has now been cordoned off by the council and a spokesman said that local stonemason, Brent Stephenson, has been asked to repair the damage as soon as possible.

Anyone with information is urged to call police on 101.