A historian has slammed vandals as “mindless” after an information board about the Bombardment of Hartlepool was trashed just months after being installed.
Two new boards detailing the First World War attack on the town were erected on the Headland by the Hartlepool Headland Local History Group at a cost of £3,000.
But group members were left shocked after discovering the metal frame of one of the boards had been damaged and the board inside removed and discarded.
Vice chairman John Cambridge tracked it down after three days of searching. It had been found nearby by a council gardener.
The history group has vowed to repair the board soon.
Mr Cambridge said: “It took us nearly a year to get it and after less than three months someone has damaged it which is mindless.
When I was told I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know why they do itJohn Cambridge, Hartlepool Headland Local History Group
“When I was told I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know why they do it, I couldn’t do it without brute force.
“The must have took a jemmy to it because they broke all the welding, writhed the board out and just chucked it away.
“Why take it out and throw it away, it doesn’t make sense.
“I just can’t fathom it.”
The information board damaged tells of the aftermath of the bombardment and the British ships that were involved, including the names of servicemen who were killed and injured.
It reads: “Although the odds were stacked against the British fleet and batteries, the brave men were unrelenting in their defence of the Hartlepools and were instrumental in saving the towns.
“For 40 minutes the town had been under fire from three of the most powerful battle cruisers in the German’s new navy and there was great pride in the men in the batteries who stood ‘firm and fast’.”
Both boards were installed close to the Heugh Gun Battery, which fought back during the bombardment, in March after the history group won lottery funding and planning permission granted by Hartlepool Borough Council.
Mr Cambridge added: “Thankfully, the board is not too badly damaged. We are going to get it repaired and get it set up again.”