A heartless attack on Selkirk War Memorial which saw graffiti sprayed across the names of men who died during World War Two has been condemned as ‘sheer cowardice’.
That comment comes from South Scotland Conservative list MSP, who is also a Selkirkshire councillor, Michelle Ballantyne after vandals sprayed yellow paint across a plaque on the memorial last weekend.
The Ettrick Terrace memorial was designed by renowned Scottish Architect Sir Robert Lorimer and unveiled in 1922.
It originally listed all of the 1292 men who took part in the World War One but more than two decades later, the names of the men who fought in World War Two were added to the site.
Mrs Ballantyne told the Wee Paper: “The names on the war memorial are those of young men who died for their country, young men not much older than individual who thought it appropriate to spray paint over their names.
“An individual whose sheer cowardice is demonstrated by doing such a thing and not having the guts to take responsibility - I am tired of young people who have no respect for anything or anybody but feel they are entitled to rights.
“I challenge them to step forward and tell me why they think spray painting a war memorial is acceptable.
“I challenge their friends to identify them if they haven’t got the guts to come forward, if you think what you did is okay then step forward as the young men on that memorial did, fight your corner and tell me why.”
This outrage was echoed by the chairman of the Selkirk and Ettrick Forest branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, David Deacon.
He said: “This incident is unwelcome, disrespectful and I am sure distressing for the families of the men named on this memorial and of course the veterans of World War Two, of which Selkirk has a number.
“I would like the person or persons responsible to have the courage to come forward and face the consequences of their actions.
“As you may be aware the War Memorial belongs to Scottish Borders Council and they have been informed and will act accordingly.
“Social media has been quick to blame young people in Selkirk for this incident, which it may well be, however I would like to make it clear that this vandalism has been conducted by a minority whose actions are not welcome in Selkirk nor the rest of the Scottish Borders.
“We have some fine young adults in Selkirk who will take this town forward with enthusiasm and respect for the town’s property and traditions and they should not be tarred with the same brush as these mindless individuals.
He added: “Selkirk is a fantastic place to live and improving all the time.”
A spokesperson for Police Scotland confirmed that they are investigating the crime.
They said: “The graffiti has since been removed and there is no lasting damage to the plaque.
“Anyone who can help identify those responsible is asked to come forward.”