Frustrated councillors are urging people to remember the significance and importance of Amble War Memorial, after vandals have fired airguns at it and balls have caused substantial damage.
Last week, the Gazette reported how five footballs and a tennis ball had ended up on the monument’s roof, blocking the drainage system and leading to flooding – resulting in significant water damage and what will surely be a hefty repair bill. And at Thursday’s town-council meeting, members expressed their dismay and said that some people’s attitudes towards the listed structure in the Town Square need to change.
Coun Robert Arckless said: “There has been a problem with people abusing the war memorial for a very long time. I remember past incidents of vandalism and one particularly nasty episode which I won’t go into because there are ladies present.
“I have seen youngsters use the memorial’s steps as a launch for their skate boards. I have challenged kids and said ‘remember what the memorial is for. The people on this memorial, by and large, grew up in Amble and they went away and never came back’.
“That is what the memorial is for and we have got a bit of an issue with trying to get that message across. Yes, it is a public open space and it is there for everybody, but there has got to be a balance here.
“We need to make it clear to people that inconsiderate behaviour has caused substantial damage and it will cost a significant amount of money to sort it out and it needn’t have happened. It is about changing attitudes and raising awareness that the war memorial area is special.”
Amble mayor Craig Weir said it was disgusting and agreed that awareness needs to be raised. He added that ‘it might not be our kids’ causing the issues, but said it was worth making the schools aware of the situation.
The town council has agreed to put some form of netting over the top of the war memorial to stop objects landing on the roof.