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Election / SNP condemns war memorial graffiti

Photo: Shetland News

LOCAL SNP by-election candidate Tom Wills says he is “appalled” and “outraged” after SNP graffiti was sprayed on the war memorial in Lerwick.

The slogan comes one week to the day before Shetland goes to the polls in the Scottish Parliament by-election.

The graffiti was written on a plinth on the Hillhead side of the memorial, which sits opposite Lerwick Town Hall just a stone’s throw away from the police station.

Laurie Pottinger (left) and Kaylee Stevenson (right) after removing the graffiti on Thursday morning.

It has since been removed by locals Laurie Pottinger and Kaylee Stevenson, who said “there is no need for this type of vandalism – whatever your political persuasions might be”.

Wills said on Thursday morning: “I am appalled, outraged and hurt by this heartless attack on our memorial honouring those who died protecting all our freedoms.

“Needless to say this attack has absolutely nothing to do with my campaign or the SNP.

“Whoever is responsible should be ashamed and subject to the full consequences of the law.

“I strongly urge anyone with information to contact the police so we can find out who is responsible for this mindless act of vandalism.

“Local volunteers are on site just now to see how best to remove the graffiti.”

Liberal Democrats’ Beatrice Wishart said: “I’m absolutely appalled. There is no excuse for this.

“We all know that emotions run high during an election but vandalism of this sort has no place in our community. This is not how politics is done in Shetland.”

Independent candidate Ryan Thomson meanwhile wrote on his Facebook page: “I’d like to express my complete contempt for this act of vandalism, it has no place in Shetland, nor this country.

“This tarnishes politics here in Shetland and tarnishes this by-election campaign for all parties and candidates.

“I hope everyone will condemn this criminal act.”

Scottish Conservative candidate Brydon Goodlad said: “This is an appalling act of vandalism and a sign of total disregard for those who bravely fought and died for this country.

“It is also a sad indictment of the state of our politics in Scotland today. I hope all candidates in the by-election will unite in condemning this.

“I would appeal to anyone with any information about this to come forward and contact the police immediately. Those responsible should be met with the full force of the law.”

Scottish Greens’ Debra Nicolson: “This is totally unacceptable and disrespectful behaviour. I hope those who are responsible feel truly ashamed.”

Voe resident John Taylor, who served in the army for 23 years and is the honorary colonel of the local cadets, said he was “absolutely disgusted by the whole thing”.

He also coordinated a festival of remembrance held in Lerwick last year to mark the centenary of the end of the First World Ward.

“I think it’s just a childish, stupid thing to do,” Taylor said.

“It shows great disrespect to those who have gone before and given service. It’s like desecrating gravestones in a church yard.”

Police said the vandalism occurred sometime overnight from Wednesday to Thursday.

Chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch said: “Vandalism is never acceptable in any circumstances and damaging a war memorial is a particularly disrespectful act.

“This has caused considerable upset in the local community and I have spoken with the local authority and asked that the memorial is cleaned as promptly as possible.

“Our enquiries are ongoing and at early stage. We would urge anyone who may have seen anything suspicious overnight in the area or has any other information which could help to come forward.”

Anyone with information can contact police in Lerwick on 101, quoting reference 573 of August 22, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The Lerwick memorial commemorates residents of Shetland who were killed or missing in World War I and World War II.