Desecration: Theft of flags from Chatteris war memorial sparks online outcry and a fundraising appeal

Chatteris war memorial flags were stolen at the weekend now a Gofundme page has been launched to raise money to replace them.
Chatteris war memorial flags were stolen at the weekend now a Gofundme page has been launched to raise money to replace them.

A charity fundraising page has been launched after a town’s war memorial was desecrated when two flags were stolen from the site.

Tina Prior, publicity officer for Chatteris Royal British Legion, said the thief failed to untie the halyards to release the Union and George Cross flags from the town’s war memorial, but instead took time to burn through the ropes before stealing the emblems.

She said: “We are classing this as desecration of our war memorial - it is a listed monument and there has been outrage on the Chatteris Facebook page since the theft was made public.

“Why someone feels the need to do this is beyond me - who knows what they were thinking? There is CCTV footage of the flags being taken and it was just one person on their own. The theft has been reported to police, but we had a similar incident in November when a Union flag was stolen from the George Clare commemoration slab before the unveiling ceremony.

“There was CCTV footage on that occasion but the images were never put out and the police simply appealed for people to check their gardens to see if the flag had been dumped.

“There just doesn’t seem to be consequences for people who do things like this and unless they are named and shamed it could happen again. Who knows it could even be the same person who took the last one that has done this.”

She said it is likely to cost at least £50 to replace each flag plus a further £20 for each of the halyards and RBL money can not be used to buy the replacements because any cash raised for the charity must go to help ex servicemen and women.

Tina said: “I have set up a Gofundme page and we have already had £340 donated - we have said any extra money raised after we have bought the new flags will go towards any future maintenance and upkeep of the war memorial area.”

The theft happened in the early hours of Sunday morning and a replacement Union flag together with the Commonwealth flag were flying over the war memorial on Monday ready for the Commmonwealth Day ceremony.

“People have said why not take them down and only put them up for ceremonies, but why should we have to do that? I do the publicity for the RBL and take quite a lot of photographs of the war memorial area and the flags flying over the memorial with the church in background look nice and make it special. I think that area of town is something to be proud of.”

If you would like to donate visit: https://www.gofundme.com/chatteris-war-memorial-flags
Anyone with information about the theft of the flags should contact Cambs police on 101.