POLICE in Ballymena are investigating an incident of criminal damage to wreaths last night, Friday 20 March.
Shortly before 11pm police received a report that 5 poppy wreaths that had been placed at the War Memorial on Galgorm Road had been set on fire.
The wreaths were destroyed as a result of the incident.
Police are treating this incident as a sectarian motivated hate crime and are appealing for anyone who has any information that can assist with their enquiries to contact officers in Ballymena on 101 quoting reference 1840 20/03/20.
Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.
Mid & East Antrim Borough Council’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr Beth Adger MBE (DUP), condemned the burning of the poppy wreaths.
She said:”I was deeply shocked and saddened by an attack on poppy wreaths in the Memorial Park, Ballymena.
“These wreaths symbolise the huge sacrifice of our Fallen and this is a vile and deplorable act.
“Our War Memorial Park is a place of sanctuary for our residents to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice and for current generations to reflect on the great loss of so many loved ones from within our community.
“I urge anybody with any information on this incident to contact the PSNI or Crimestoppers.
“The perpetrators must be brought to justice.”
Alderman John Carson (DUP) – the ‘Veterans Champion’ on the Council – said: “As veterans champion for Mid and East Antrim Borough council l was absolutely disgusted when the deputy mayor Cllr. Beth Adger, rang me to Inform me of this incident.
“During the night some scumbag/ scumbags set fire to a number of wreaths in the Memorial Park.
“I challenge whoever was responsible to contact me and explain just what exactly your problem is.
“The Memorial Park is a sacred place set apart to honour those who paid the supreme sacrifice in two world wars and other conflicts and for anyone to carry out such an attack is just sickening.
“There is no place in society for people with this sort of mindset and l hope the powers that be soon bring the culprits to book.”