Updated: Monday, 22nd October 2018 @ 6:00pm

Manchester Council chiefs crackdown on selfish skaters who disrespected war heroes with cenotaph damage

Manchester Council chiefs crackdown on selfish skaters who disrespected war heroes with cenotaph damage

| By Josh Willacy

Council bosses have promised to come down hard on skaters who have damaged left ‘horrifying’ damage on the newly-placed cenotaph outside Manchester Town Hall.

Although the cenotaph has only been open to the public for just a few days, the stone has already been damaged by skateboards and BMXs, is showing scuffs on the wall and graffiti daubed on a bench.

The council have outlined their plans to stop any more damage being made WWI memorial, and promise that they will prosecute anyone seen scaring the cenotaph further.

Councillor Jeff Smith who has overseen the refurbishment said: “Over the many months we’ve been working on the Town Hall transformation, the cenotaph has been a key aspect of that and a really important symbol of how we’ve changed St Peter’s Square and how we deliver services.

“When we opened to universal acclaim, it was great and I’m really pleased with the work we’ve done which makes it all the more disappointing and horrifying to see the actions of a few individuals over the last week or two.

IN ALL IT'S GLORY: The finished cenotaph last month

“We absolutely condemn this behaviour and it’s completely unacceptable, it is just a minority but we need to ensure that those people know the importance and the sanctity of the area.”

He also vowed to prosecute those responsible and he added: “This is a criminal offence and we will take action on anyone we trace for this.”

Security is set to be tighten as the council now has CCTV trained on the cenotaph and will be targeting anybody who defiles the area.

There are now also plans to put something physical on the cenotaph to stop people from using it for skate purposes, although ‘any physical changes made won’t affect the lovely design of the cenotaph’ claimed Councillor Smith.

“We will also be meeting with the skate community to discuss the seriousness of this activity and how unacceptable this is,” he said.

DAMAGED: The cenotaph has been scuffed and damaged

“We’ll also be engaging with the two skate shops in the city in the city centre and people from the skate parks to make sure they understand the seriousness of this problem.”

The multi-million pound refurbishment has seen the almost century-old stone work designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens moved over months from its original spot to the new site to make way for a Metrolink expansion.

CRACKDOWN: Council bosses have vowed to catch those responsible

Councillor Sue Murphy also outlined the council’s plan to create a ‘friends of the cenotaph’ group to help protect the monument that was originally erected in 1924.

She said: “There has been a huge amount of interest in the new cenotaph and brilliant response from Mancunians appreciating the new space and the significance of the cenotaph.

“There is a service next Monday originally meant to be a small service to mark the relocation of the service cenotaph and it’s going to be much bigger than originally thought.

“The vast majority of people appreciate the new space and I think it would be very easy to recruit from them people for ‘friends of the cenotaph.”