POLICE are treating the theft of wreaths from a war memorial in Derry as a hate crime.
The items were taken from the Diamond War Memorial in the city centre shortly before 2.30am today.
It comes after wreaths were laid at the memorial on Saturday in memory of those killed in the Battle of the Somme.
Foyle MLA Gary Middleton described the thefts as ‘an insult’.
“The wreaths laid there are in memory of all those who served regardless of their background,” said the DUP MLA.
“To steal or damage any wreath laid at such a memorial is an insult to all those who are commemorated on it.”
Mr Middleton claimed only poppy wreaths were taken while laurel wreaths were untouched, adding that this demonstrated ‘sectarian hatred’ on the part of those responsible.
Police have appealed for information about the incident.
“We are making enquiries, and we’re appealing to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the Diamond area around this time, or who knows where the wreaths were taken, to contact us on 101 quoting 143 of 05/07/23,” said Chief Inspector Luke Moyne.