Scores of people have been seen defecating and urinating on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, in scenes that have provoked fury.
Faeces has been smeared around the monument, built to honour almost 25,000 sailors who died defending their country, and soiled toilet roll has been dumped across the site.
The disgraceful acts of desecration come just days after a man sparked national outrage for urinating next to the memorial of PC Keith Palmer, who died fighting a terrorist in Westminster.
The latest incident has appalled a former head of the Royal Navy, who has demanded police come down on the culprits ‘like a tonne of bricks’.
Admiral Lord Alan West, who was chief of naval staff between 2002 and 2006, said: ‘That is disgusting behaviour. It’s appalling. The police should make sure they come down on these people like a tonne of bricks.
‘It’s absolutely dreadful how they’re behaving. That memorial is there because those people gave their lives ensuring we are free today to be on the common and have a drink. It’s disgraceful.’
Large pools of urine have also been reported, with witnesses claiming people were using the memorial on Southsea Common as a toilet on Friday evening.
Shadow armed forces minister Stephen Morgan was sickened by the news, which emerged ahead of next Saturday’s Armed Forces Day celebrations honouring all those who have served in the military.
The Portsmouth South MP said: ‘I’m disgusted by reports of the defacing of the naval memorial, and hope authorities take swift action to catch the perpetrators and restore our memorial as swiftly as possible.
‘What’s shocking about this incident is the fact it has taken place ahead of week when we’ll be remembering the past service and sacrifice of those who have served in our armed forces, and the continued dedication of today’s personnel during this challenging time for our country.’
The incident was reported to The News by a dog walker from Southsea and comes amid the backdrop of a huge surge in antisocial behaviour and drug-use on the Common.
The man, who asked not to be identified, said: ‘I’m livid at the state of the memorial. I walk through there most days but it has never been this bad.
‘There are “deposits” all over it. It’s so disrespectful. My grandfather was in the RAF and lost his life during the Second World War.
‘This memorial is the nearest thing the guys in the navy who died have got to a grave. Now it smells worse than the dirtiest gent’s toilet in Portsmouth. It’s terrible.’
Former defence secretary Penny Mordaunt this week demanded all those caught defacing war memorials should be sent to ‘battle camps’ with the military as punishment.
The Portsmouth North MP said: ‘I’d like to tell you how I feel but The News could not print it. I know many others from across our city will be livid. They are right to be. That memorial stands for so many who said “we might be afraid, we wish we didn’t have to, but we are prepared to lay down our lives for you and future generations”.
‘They are not simply pieces of chiselled stone. They are how we remember so many someone’s who died for us.’
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which built the site, said it ‘strongly condemned the wholly inappropriate and disrespectful’ treatment of the memorial.
‘It saddens us that in the year in which we mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, our memorial has been treated in this manner, but we will never allow the actions of a few to mar the memory of the many,’ a spokesman added.
The commission said it was working with authorities to find a ‘permanent solution’ to the problem and added staff had increased visits to the site to protect it.
Hampshire police said it is aware of the incident and has launched an investigation.
A spokeswoman said: ‘Officers continue to patrol Southsea Common daily and encourage anyone who witnesses any ongoing crime or anti-social behaviour to make a report.
‘While this behaviour is completely unacceptable, we do not believe it is hate or protest-related.’
It is a criminal offence to defecate or urinate in public. Those caught doing so can be fined or jailed.
Last week a large group of people rallied at Portsmouth’s cenotaph, in Guildhall Square, amid fears the monument would be vandalism following a spate of attacks on sites nationally.
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