Manchester

Vandals target grave of blast soldier Simon Annis

Fusilier Simon Annis
Image caption Fusilier Simon Annis was killed in an explosion in August 2009

Thieves have desecrated the Cheshire grave of a soldier who was killed while rescuing a comrade in Afghanistan.

Twenty small crosses, three wreaths and two mahogany crosses were taken from the grave of Fusilier Simon Annis in Hollins Park Cemetery in Hollins Green.

Police said the items were worth little but had an "immeasurable" sentimental value to the 22-year-old's family.

Fusilier Annis, of Cadishead, Salford, was killed in an explosion in Sangin, Helmand Province, on 16 August 2009.

Cheshire Police said his grave was targeted some time between 1800 BST on 9 April and noon the following day.

'Callous act'

Sgt Lee Cooper, investigating, said: "The items stolen are of little monetary value, but their sentimental worth immeasurable.

"The family of Simon have been left devastated at this callous and insensitive act.

"The miniature crosses were inscribed with personal messages from Simon's comrades, family and friends, and cannot be replaced."

Fusilier Annis died along with two other colleagues of 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (2 RRF) in the blast.

His commanding officer, Lt/Col Charlie Calder said he was killed while trying to save his mortally wounded section commander.

"He should be seen as a shining example to the nation of what selfless commitment really means," said Lt/Col Calder.

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