A SPECIAL statue paying tribute to our First World War heroes has been vandalised - less than 24 hours after being installed.

Mindless vandals damaged the silhouette Tommy statue just hours after Southend Council put it up at the Cenotaph in Campfield Road, Shoebury.

It has caused absolute fury within the community with residents and the Royal British Legion slamming the idiots responsible.

Alan Cripps, 68, chairman of the Great Wakering British Legion, said there is no need for behaviour like this.

He said: “It is very disappointing that people find it necessary to vandalise something that is so respectful.

“Unfortunately, young people today do not appreciate what happened in the past and the point of Remembrance Day is about educating people about the previous wars and conflicts and lives lost.

“I hope anyone involved is shown the error of their ways.”

Jenny Eldridge, 68, from Shoebury, added: “People are so angry about this.

“It seems youths will vandalise anything these days. They are just so thoughtless and people feel really passionately about what’s happened.”

The council installed four silhouettes with the others at Belfairs Park, Southend War memorial in Clifftown Parade and one in Rochford Road, Southend.

A council spokesman, said: “Behaviour such as this is completely and utterly unacceptable.

“These silhouettes symbolise the incredible sacrifice so many men and women gave for people today.

“We wouldn’t be living in the country we do today if it wasn’t for those who served their country, and to damage this symbolic silhouette is just beyond belief. We urge anybody with any information to contact the police immediately on 101.

“We will not tolerate such disrespectful behaviour and we will give all necessary support to the police to find the culprits.”

It happened on Wednesday.