Minister’s gratitude to services

Justice Minister Crispin Blunt

Justice Minister Crispin Blunt

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THE Justice Minister has praised Blackpool ex-servicemen and women after they submitted a petition calling for tougher penalties to prevent metal thefts and damage at war memorials.

A petition containing 3,000 signatures was handed to Downing Street by MP for Blackpool South Gordon Marsden and Blackpool’s British Legion chairman Ian Coleman.

In response, Justice Minister Crispin Blunt wrote to Mr Marsden and said: “I note in particular the petition was organised by ex-service personnel, and I would like to pass on my respect and gratitude for the service they have made to this country.

“The Government has asked the Sentencing Council to consider revising guidelines, to make an offence targeted on a war memorial a formal aggravating factor courts would be required to follow.”

Mr Marsden said: “I am sure everyone who has joined locally in this campaign will watch carefully how this reassessment progresses and I will continue to push progress to stiffer penalties.”