CRUEL vandals beheaded a series of statue tributes to fallen war heroes in Purfleet.

A collection of Tommys were installed at the Purfleet Heritage Centre and Military Museum, in Centurion Way, to commemorate those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars two-years-ago.

However over the weekend heartless vandals targeted one set of statues, removing the heads from the soldiers.

Some of the other statues have also been damaged or removed from where they stood.

The centre is run entirely by volunteers and hosts a number of commemoration events every year as well as opening twice a week to show off a collection of memorabilia.

Resident Lisa Wright has set up a Go Fund Me to raise cash to replace the Tommys.

She is trying to raise £300 and has already had donations of £235.

Lisa said on the fundraising page: "I am a local Purfleet resident and neighbourhood watch co-ordinator who was angered, disappointed and sad this morning when I spotted that a memorial to the fallen had been vandalised.

"One row of soldiers has been ripped from its fixings and discarded and vandalised on the floor the other row have been beheaded as seen in the photo.

"The plan is to replace these soldiers so any donations towards this would be gratefully received and will be passed to the Purfleet on Thames Community Forum to cover costs."

Last year thieves stole the plaque of names on Purfleet's war memorial.

Councillor Qaisar Abbas reported the incident to Thurrock Council and Essex Police on Saturday.

He also donated the remaining £60 to meet the target of £300.

Essex Police are investigating the vandalism.

Chief Inspector Natalia Ross said: “The statues were put in place to commemorate those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars.

“They were enjoyed by the community and centre visitors who wanted to pay their respects.

“Sadly, they were damaged – possibly beyond repair – in despicable acts this weekend.

“A dedicated officer has been allocated to the investigation to look into the circumstances and to find those responsible.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Grays police station on 101 quoting crime reference 42/76981/20.

Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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