Police are appealing for witnesses after a war memorial in a popular York park was vandalised with paint.
Volunteers arrived at Rowntree Park on Tuesday morning to discover vandals had broken into the storage room under the cafe and taken some tools and paint.
They poured paint around the park, including on the grade II-listed lychgate and dovecote containing First and Second World War memorial plaques.
A member of the Friends of Rowntree Park said it was “really disappointing” to see the park vandalised.
They said: “We know for sure a wheelbarrow was taken. We do not have funds to replace [it].
“It’s really disappointing to have these issues on the war memorial, particularly as this is the park’s centenary year.
“We have had an amazing response from York residents joining our dedicated team of volunteers and grow plants for the park in the last year, so it’s obviously even more of a disappointment to see such pointless damage.
“This is the second incident of offensive graffiti in the formal bit of the park in the last fortnight.”
Council staff visited the park on Tuesday to start cleaning away the paint.
A North Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “It’s such a disappointment to see our parks and open spaces and those who work and volunteer to tend them, treated with such disrespect.
“The fact that someone has chosen to break into the storage facility and take tools and paint and use them to graffiti the park, which is there for their benefit, beggars belief.
This incident is believed to have taken place at some point overnight on Monday (24 May). Anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area of Rowntree Park, or who may have captured CCTV or doorbell footage is asked to contact 101, select option 2 and speak to the Force Control Room. Please quote reference 12210125455.
Bill Manby, head of highways at City of York Council, said: “Due to the nature of the paint used our graffiti team were required to provide assistance with removing the graffiti.
“They will be attending to help remove the paint as soon as possible.”
Historic England listings say the lychgate and dovecote containing the war memorial plaques were installed in 1921 and are likely to have been designed by Frederick Rowntree or W Swain for Rowntree & Co Ltd and presented to the City of York as part of the memorial Rowntree Park.
The memorials commemorate Rowntree Cocoa Works’ employees killed or injured in the First World War and, subsequently, to honour those who died in the Second World War.
Rowntree Park was gifted to the city as a memorial to the Cocoa Works staff who were injured and died during the First World War.