Hillsborough Memorial collection tins stolen from garden centre in Port Sunlight COLLECTION tins in aid of the vandalised Hillsborough Memorial Garden in Port Sunlight have been stolen.
Intended to raise funds for the appeal to restore the memorial, the two containers were taken from Port Sunlight Garden Centre on Sunday night. Also taken was a collection tin for the Alzheimer's Society.
Police are investigating the incident and studying cctv
footage in a bid to find those responsible.
The theft comes more than a month after the garden was vandalised on Sunday, June 7.
Garden centre manager Mark Scott told the Globe: "It's terrible and is just a second twist of the knife.
"First of all someone destroys the memorial garden and then steals this money, while we're trying to raise funds for the garden's repair.
"It is clear from watching the footage that the criminal knew exactly what they wanted. They came in an made a bee-line for the tins.
"I will never forget arriving at work on that Sunday in June and seeing police tape running from the garden centre and around the memorial garden. Whoever's done this is a mindless vandal."
Mark, who has been the garden centre manager for three years, continued: "The police came out and have taken cctv
away with them. But I don't hold out much hope of them catching anybody, because the person was wearing a balaclava."
The restoration appeal has, so far, raised more than £4,000.
In what was described as a "despicable" act, memorial stones were thrown across the gardens in the village and decorative balustrades were kicked and smashed during the attack, which occured sometime between Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday June 7.
The Port Sunlight Village Trust needs to raise £26,500 to restore the Portland stonework, improve security in the garden and introduce an information panel highlighting the importance of the memorial to visitors.
It is hoped enough will have been raised by Christmas to start restoration work early in the New Year, with a re-dedication of the memorial taking place in the spring.
The memorial was the first to be dedicated after the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 in memory of the 96 people who tragically lost their lives.
Created by Unilever the garden was for staff, who lost loved ones in the Hillsborough disaster 20 years ago, to pay their respects.
Maggie Sparks, chair of Port Sunlight Village Trust, told the Globe: "Standing at the site of the Hillsborough Memorial Garden on Sunday June 7, just hours after the vandalism had taken place, it was hard to believe anyone could stoop so low as to desecrate this memorial to the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives.
"However, someone has stooped even lower by stealing our appeal buckets from the local Garden Centre. Itís hard to put into words the feelings that this action brings to mind.
"Nevertheless we shall carry on with the appeal which has been supported by so many individuals and organisations. We owe it to everyone affected by the disaster to restore the Hillsborough Memorial Garden to its former glory.
"It is so heartening to receive donations and words of support from football fans of different clubs, both at home and abroad.
"Hillsborough is clearly something which cuts through all football rivalry, which in itself is a tribute to those who died."To raise awareness of the appeal, a leaflet has been created and distributed for free by Wirral businesses.
A programme of local events to help generate funds, details of which will be announced shortly.
For more about the appeal or to make a donation visit portsunlightvillage.com or call 0151 644 4800.
Donations can also be sent to: 23 King George's Drive, Port Sunlight CH62 5DX.Anyone with information relating to Sunday's raid, which is believed to have occurred at 6.40pm, can call police on 709 6010 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. THE GLOBE