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“So disrespectful” — Police investigate report of theft from Kirriemuir poppy display

Cllr Ronnie Proctor and Jim Ritchie with a wreath at the Kirriemuir war memorial in previous years.
Cllr Ronnie Proctor and Jim Ritchie with a wreath at the Kirriemuir war memorial in previous years.

A police investigation is under way after poppy wreaths laid on Remembrance Day were stolen from Kirriemuir war memorial.

The discovery follows reports of two youths being spotted handling the wreaths near Kirriemuir Cemetery with one of the boys seen with a wreath around his head.

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Their actions have been condemned by community leaders in the town as it emerged that at least three wreaths are missing.

Jim Ritchie, a member of the Dundee and Angus branch of the Scots Guards Association who has organised the Remembrance Day event in the town for the last 30 years, said their actions were “disrespectful”.

He said: “There are three fewer wreaths at the war memorial than were laid on Remembrance Day, but sometimes members of the public also lay wreaths afterwards as well so it may be more than three that have been taken.

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“I can’t believe someone has been so disrespectful to wear a wreath around his neck.”

Around a dozen wreaths are traditionally laid at the iconic war memorial within Kirriemuir Cemetery every Remembrance Day from several veterans associations as well as local groups such as churches and the scouts and guides.

This year the town’s community council organised new metal frames for the wreaths to be laid on to make them more secure.

“It looks like these boys have come along and ripped them off,” added Mr Ritchie.

“The gates to the cemetery are locked at night so they’ve obviously climbed over the gates. It’s terrible that this has happened in a wee place like Kirrie.”

KMil_KirrieMemorial_Vandals

Witnesses saw two boys passing one of the wreaths to each other away from the cemetery.

Another person saw one of the boys wearing a wreath around his neck.

Local councillor Ronnie Proctor, who is a veteran and also a member of The Black Watch Association, said the incident was “disgraceful”.

“The people these wreaths are laid for are people who gave their lives to enable the young people who have done this the freedom they have today.

“They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. I think this is completely disgraceful and the culprits should be made to realise the error of their ways.

“I find it absolutely disgusting.”

Police Scotland has asked for any witnesses to come forward with information by calling 101.

A police spokesman said: “We are aware of the matter and looking into it.”

It is understood that the wreaths laid by three churches in the town are missing.

Rev John Orr, of St Andrew’s Church, said: “It’s a shame that kids don’t recognise the importance of these things to communities. It’s about the community honouring those who have served.”

An Angus Council spokesman said: “We’re concerned to hear about this and will be looking into the matter.”

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