Anger after vandals target RAF memorial bench

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POLICE are investigating whether vandalism inflicted on an RAF memorial bench is a hate crime.

The seat at Clifton Park was installed as part of efforts to mark the 2018 centenary of the Royal Air Force.

The bench – featuring the words “100 years of service” – has been been damaged by scratched-in graffiti.

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Malcolm Blease, chairman of the Royal Air Forces Association’s Rotherham branch, said: “Some years ago we undertook a fundraising campaign to raise money to install a memorial bench in Clifton Park on the 100th anniversary in 2018 of the formation of the RAF.

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“Sadly I was informed by the park rangers last week that the bench has been badly vandalised.

“I went to the park the following day and the damage to the bench is considerable.

“The military veterans community are saddened and angered by this mindless act of vandalism, particularly at a time when we have been commemorating the D-Day landings.”

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Others described the vandalism as being “very upsetting” and showing a “lack of respect”.

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A South Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “We responded to reports of criminal damage at Clifton Park, Rotherham, on Tuesday June 11.

“It was reported that the RAF 100 memorial bench in Clifton Park was vandalised by unknown individuals sometime between 9am on Saturday, June 8, and 11pm on Sunday, June 9.

“Officers are investigating whether this is also a hate incident.”

The spokesperson added: “Enquiries are ongoing. If anyone has any information relevant to this incident, you can get in touch by calling 101, quoting investigation number 14/110001/24.”

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