Teenagers blamed for desecrating war memorial

Poulton in Bloom members with bottles and glasses collected in the Market Square (Poulton le Fylde), pictured  by the damaged war memorial garden. From left, Carol Woolley (chairman), Eileen Tupling (vice chairman) and David Morley (committee).
Poulton in Bloom members with bottles and glasses collected in the Market Square (Poulton le Fylde), pictured by the damaged war memorial garden. From left, Carol Woolley (chairman), Eileen Tupling (vice chairman) and David Morley (committee).
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The father of a Fylde coast war hero who died in Afghanistan has slammed yobs who desecrated a memorial created in tribute to his son.

Dave Broughton, father of Fusilier Sam Flint-Broughton, says he is ‘disgusted’ a flower bed planted in his son’s memory in Poulton’s Market Place has been flattened by vandals.

Sam Flint, 21, from Poulton

Sam Flint, 21, from Poulton

Empty beer bottles and glasses have also been found scattered in the display and Mr Broughton says a poppy wreath dedicated to the 21-year-old has been knocked off the town’s war memorial several times.

Mr Broughton, 47, who lives Poulton, said: “It’s disgusting. Sam went to fight for his country and died for his country.

“These vandals are absolutely mindless.

“They need to grow up and think of what they’re doing before they do it.”

Fusilier Flint-Broughton was killed – along with two colleagues – on April 30 this year when the armoured Mastiff vehicle they were travelling in was hit by an improvised explosive device in Helmand province.

The red begonias were planted in a cross formation to coincide with the young soldier’s funeral, which saw Poulton come to a standstill when residents and traders lined the streets to pay their respects in May.

And his name is set to be inscribed on the town’s memorial over the next month.

Mr Broughton added: “The things that the whole of Poulton have done for Sam is much appreciated. We’ve had so much help from Poulton it’s unbelievable.

“I think this damage has got to have been done by people from out of town because any people of Sam’s age group would never have touched it.”

Mr Broughton and his family regularly visit the memorial, as well as a plaque which was unveiled at the Fylde Memorial Arboretum, in Bispham, in June. He said: “It’s still not easy now and not a week goes past where we don’t visit them.

“We’ve had to pick up the poppy ring that the Army put there and put it back where it belongs before.

“These people probably don’t mean it maliciously but they’re not thinking about others when they’re doing stupid things like that.”

The vandalism is believed to have taken place between last Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

Carol Woolley, chairman of Poulton In Bloom which created the flower display, says vandalism of the memorial has been occurring regularly over the past few weekends.

She said: “We are used to flower damage being done at weekends, but we are absolutely abhorred that it’s now happened to the war memorial bed which we planted.

“The cross was put down for Fusilier Flint-Broughton and it’s just amazing that it’s got to the state where people don’t have any respect for the flowers or for the dead.

“Somebody’s got to be answerable for this.”

The attack comes after a suggestion at a recent meeting of Poulton and Carleton Residents’ Association that pubs in the town should be required to have doormen at weekends.

Ian Calvert, owner of Mojo’s bar, on Breck Road, in the town, said: “It’s a bad thing that’s happened because Poulton In Bloom have spent a lot of time on it for a soldier who died – it’s outrageous really.”

Wyre Council said the flower beds are due to be stripped out for spring bedding next month, but the area will be tidied up in the meantime.

A spokesman added: “We are disappointed by the latest incident of vandalism to the flower beds in Poulton.

“A number of flowers have been flattened and sadly it’s too late in the season to replace them.”

Lancashire Police is currently investigating the incident, along with another report of flower beds being vandalised in the Market Place overnight between August 9 and 10.

A police spokesman said: “We are looking into it and we’re going to be looking to see if there’s any CCTV in the area.

“We are making inquiries.”

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