Vandals who scrawled offensive words on a war memorial have been branded “appalling”.
The memorial, outside St Ambrose Church on Moss Lane, in Leyland, stands as a permanent reminder of those from the town who lost their lives during the First World War.
Now, vandals have put abusive graffiti on the stone and its surrounding walls which contain the names of fallen soldiers.
Jim Eskdale, president of the Leyland branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “This is a crime, not just vandalism or horseplay. It is a crime against the people that fought to give people a future. With things like Iraq and Afghanistan going on, there seems to be a lot more respect for the people that fought and died for us, and the people who are still fighting and dying for us.
“This desecration is like kicking your family grave over and I hope the people responsible are caught.”
The graffiti contains initials and the words as well as some drawings thought to be in stone or chalk.
Coun Susan Jones, who represents the Leyland St Ambrose ward at South Ribble Council, said: “It is disgusting. I know there is a lot of vandalism from time to time in Moss Lane, but this is particularly offensive.
“I think the main thing with this kind of vandalism is to get it removed quickly. If people see other people doing it, it acts as a magnet. People start to think it is OK, which of course it is not.”
Resident Andy Farrell said: “This is not just kids messing around. This is disrespectful to the war dead, their families, and community.”
Council leaders say the vandalism is offensive in the light of the death of Marine Paul Warren, from Ingleborough Way, Leyland, who died fighting in Afghanistan last year.
Coun Peter Mullineaux said: “We were appalled. I hope we don’t see any further examples of such unacceptable behaviour. Our brave service men and women deserve more respect, and that those responsible for this vandalism should hang their heads in shame.”