Reward tops £1,600 in hunt for vandals

editorial image

A REWARD to snare vandals who carried out a sickening attack on an iconic North Bay sculpture is set to smash the £2,000 barrier.

The Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers statue was defaced with yellow gloss paint in a senseless attack that sent shockwaves reverberating around Scarborough.

Outraged members of the public inundated the Evening News with offers of cash rewards leading to a successful prosecution, with the pot now standing at £1,650 and further offers set to flood in.

The statue is now looking resplendent again after work by Scarborough Council crews.

Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill offered £100 to help catch those responsible.

He said: “It is just sickening that someone would, for no reason whatsoever, attack a feature that has so quickly become part of the fabric of Scarborough.

“This is tantamount to an attack on every single person that lives in Scarborough.

“The statue has become so quickly iconic and the people have taken it to their hearts.

“I have not heard one single person who is against the sculpture and considering the reaction to some art creations, that is quite something.

“I hope that the size of the reward will have an effect on someone to shop the scumbags who caused the damage.

“If anyone feels a perverse loyalty to the culprit behind this, then I hope that the reward will make them think again.”

The £50,000 statue, which was donated to Scarborough by philanthropic pensioner Maureen Robinson last year, poignantly remembers former miner Freddie Gilroy who was one of the first soldiers to relieve victims of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

The attack, which took place late on Thursday night, fell the day before on Holocaust Memorial Day and Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, told the Evening News they were appalled at the damage.

She said: “To deface a statue dedicated to British troops who liberated Bergen-Belsen would be an appalling act any time, an insult to both the victims of the Holocaust and the veterans who witnessed scenes of profound horror.

“For such an act of vandalism to take place on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day is absolutely despicable.”

Mrs Robinson, who broke down in tears when she visited the statue in Marine Drive, said: “I am absolutely heartbroken and cannot understand why someone would do this.

“I cannot believe anyone in their right mind could do something like this to such a lovely man.

“If Freddie could have seen this he would have been heartbroken too.

“There is just comprehension of the meaning of the statue by whoever has done this.”

Scarborough police have reiterated their drive to bring a swift conviction of the culprits and have emphasised the need for witnesses to come forward.

Inspector Tony Quinn, from Scarborough’s Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We will do everything in our power to find those responsible and are seeking the help of members of the public to help find the suspects.

“We are appealing to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area of the statue prior to 8.15pm on Thursday evening, or anyone who believes they know who is responsible.

“We are also appealing to any shop owners who recall selling yellow gloss paint to anyone, any parents whose children or teenagers were out last night and may have had access to yellow paint, to please contact the police as soon as possible.

“It is vital that the people responsible are held to account for their actions.”

Anyone with any information is urged to call the force’s new 101 number, select option 2 and ask for PC Alex Parker.

Alternatively, people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.