A renowned rock art expert has described graffiti on an ancient monument as ‘destroying our county’s heritage’.
Police are appealing for information after the words DONZ, MIK and JAZ were carved into the main cup and ring panel at Lordenshaw, near Rothbury.
The rock is an ancient scheduled monument and the damage has been reported as a heritage crime.
Rock art expert Stan Beckensall was appalled to hear about the incident.
“People do not think about what they are doing,” he said.
“Damage like this can destroy the archaeology.
“Very often people can not always see what is on the rock anyway as you need absolutely good conditions.
“But do this will make it even harder.
“Unfortunately things like this happen all over the world.
“Why does anybody put their name on anything? They are trying to draw attention for themselves but they are spoiling it for other people.
“I hope they are caught by the police.
“We have got one of the finest heritages of rock art in the world here in Northumberland and people don’t realise how important it is.
“It is a crime against heritage and now a police matter.”
Officers are carrying out inquiries into the damage and urging anyone who has witnessed the incident or has any information about it to contact them.
Neighbourhood Police Inspector Paul Truscott said: “The site is an important part of Northumberland’s heritage and it is completely unacceptable that it has been damaged in this way.
“We’re working closely with Northumberland National Park and English Heritage and are carrying out inquiries to identify those responsible.
“The person or people who have done this might think it was nothing more than a bit of fun, however, they’ve spoilt an ancient monument that many people come to visit.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 487 070414 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.