MINDLESS vandals who destroyed poppies will not taint the ‘fantastic community effort’ that has painted Ripon red, says a defiant councillor.

Ripon is currently adorned with around 50,000 poppies made by the local community but the display was marred when vandals damaged some of the wooden poppies on the bypass roundabout.

Ripon City Councillor Stuart Martin, who was instrumental in organising the spectacular display, said it was disappointing that someone had damaged the poppies but said the vandals would not win.

He said: “I am going to try and have a word with them and see if they will apologise.

“I want to tell them a little bit about remembrance and what it is all about.”

Cllr Martin was told about the damage on Tuesday and he understands the police have identified who is responsible.

He said: “It was very disappointing to hear, I was very upset when I was first told - not so much for me, but the community has put an awful lot of work in and it is upsetting because of what it (the display) represents.

“I thought it was disrespectful to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

The Northern Echo:

Despite the upset caused over the vandalism, Cllr Martin said the display has been an overwhelming success that will not be overshadowed by the incident.

He said that when the poppy project was first launched it had three main aims; to honor the soldiers who fought for their country, to bring the community together and to attract visitors to the city.

Cllr Martin said that the display has more than fulfilled all those aims.

He added: “The vandalism isn’t going to taint it overall.

“It doesn’t matter if they damage them every day, we will go back every morning and repair them - we are going to win this battle, they wont.”

A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police confirmed that the force is investigating the vandalism and asked for anyone who has any information about the incident to contact them.

She said: “Police were called at 7.50pm on October 29 after a member of the public saw a group of young boys damaging a poppy display on a roundabout in Ripon.

“Officers are working to identify the boys involved. The investigation is ongoing and witnesses are asked to call police on 101 and quote reference number 12180202753.”