Express & Star

Wolverhampton park memorial bench vandalised with swastikas

A memorial bench in Wolverhampton dedicated to First World War soldiers has been desecrated with Nazi symbols.

Graffitied bench in Ashmore Park, Wednesfield photo supplied by Sophie Perry, W’ton College NCTJ student

The bench in Ashmore Park, Wednesfield, has had a number of swastikas scratched into it.

Reverend Tom Fish, Vicar of St Albans C of E Church, said the graffiti does not “represent what we are or what we want to be as a community” and it “represents divisions rather than community”.

He added that it was ironic the symbols are etched into images of soldiers who “stood against what that symbols represents”.

The vandalised bench in Ashmore Park, Wednesfield. Photo: Sophie Perry, Wolverhampton College NCTJ student

The bench was placed ‘on behalf of the people of the City of Wolverhampton to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War and to remember those who served’.

Councillor Phil Bateman, who represents Wednesfield North, said the racist graffiti has “caused quite a backlash in the community” and the issue was brought to his attention by residents themselves.

Councillor Bateman said: “I think everyone has been left saddened and let down by the fact that these silhouettes have desecrated the benches.

“The benches in Wednesfield North are very popular not only because of the remembrance part of them, they are strategically placed so that residents can rest while taking exercise.

“It is extremely upsetting for residents.”

The vandalised bench in Ashmore Park, Wednesfield. Photo: Sophie Perry, Wolverhampton College NCTJ student

Councillor Batemen has already written to both the police and local authority regarding the issue.

A response to Councillor Bateman’s letter from PCSO Carl Smith stated: “We have sadly been given information, that unknown offenders have been on The Park at the rear of Barnard Road and defaced a memorial bench, dedicated to those fallen soldiers in the World War of 1914-1918.

“Offensive images have been scratched into the shapes of soldiers which make up the back of the bench. This is totally outrageous and unacceptable.

“This has been reported to the council for repair and enquiries are ongoing, patrols will be continued and any offenders identified will be dealt with accordingly.”

The racist graffiti comes after a Muslim family was racially abused in West Park recently with other attacks allegedly linked to that incident then taking place in the Whitmore Reans area.

Report by Sophie Perry

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