Villagers have been shocked by vandalism and theft at the church memorial to their war dead.
Two large metal plaques have been stolen and the stonework damaged at the memorial in south Wirral.
The incident has caused distress to householders in Willaston, where the prominent monument to the local dead of two World Wars stands on raised ground in the churchyard of Christ Church on Neston Road.
It is believed the plaques were wrenched away from the masonry on Friday night.
Police are investigating the theft and the damaged caused.
Christ Church Vicar, the Revd Raymond Dent, who is also a padre for the Lancashire Army Cadet Force, said: “I am absolutely disgusted that anyone could show such irreverence and lack of respect for those who gave their lives so that this country could be free.
"This is a sin against humanity.”
Churchwarden Vivien Ley added: “The people of Willaston are shocked and incredulous that anyone could be capable of showing such contempt for their fellow man.”
The monument is the focal point for the community’s annual Service of Remembrance, attended by the young and old of Willaston.
It is well cared for and decorated with flowerbeds stocked by a local nursery.
After the theft, chipped masonry was left around the base of the monument and its flat surfaces were scarred.
Vicar and parish officials are appealing for any information about the theft and vandalism to be reported to police.
PC Mike Lockett, from Cheshire Police said: “Thieves intent on stealing metal are aware that we are actively patrolling and protecting aged buildings that are traditionally the ‘targets' for metal theft thieves.
"To now steal a plaque that commemorates the death of those who put their lives on the line for our country is abhorrent.
"The cash value of the metal is minimal but the sentimental value is profound.
"We are keen to speak to anyone who may have knowledge of the whereabouts of this plaque, or anyone who may have been offered it for Sale
or trade, to contact Police." Source