Peterborough war memorial cleaners in 'vandalism' accusation

Peterborough's war memorial during dedication
Image caption Peterborough's war memorial was erected last summer

A new war memorial has been damaged by Peterborough City Council-employed cleaners, it has been claimed.

Witness John Chivers said Enterprise Peterborough workers used metal shovels to clear snow from the base. Afterwards he saw it was cracked and chipped.

George Bennett, from Peterborough Veterans' Association, described it as "vandalism".

Enterprise Peterborough said only brushes were used and the council said it would investigate the damage.

Mr Chivers, a Big Issue vendor, said the cleaning crew arrived in Bridge Street, where the memorial was erected last summer, on Wednesday afternoon.

"They started clearing the snow off the monument, first of all with a broom, then they started at the ice beneath with metal shovels," he said.

'Former glory'

Image caption The limestone base was chipped and cracked in a number of places

"I thought at the time, 'that's not a good idea', but I figured they must know what they were doing."

The next morning he noticed cracks in the memorial's limestone base, he said.

Mr Bennett, who campaigned for a new memorial for 12 years, said: "When I saw it, I could have cried.

"It's definitely been done with something metal - it's vandalism."

A spokesman for Enterprise Peterborough, which provides cleaning services to the council, said: "We first alerted the city council to the damage when we removed the wreaths and snow from the war memorial.

"We have assured the council the memorial was treated with due care and only brushes were used in the process."

A council spokeswoman added: "Clearly it is disappointing to see any damage to the war memorial so soon after installation. We will now be investigating what has caused this.

"We can assure residents that we will return the war memorial to its former glory as quickly as possible."

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