HOOLIGANS responsible for ripping poppy wreaths from a Swindon war memorial should hand himself in, police have said.

The Cenotaph was targeted in the early hours of Saturday morning. Up to 50 poppy wreaths were taken from the memorial and scattered up to 80 metres from the stone monument.

Insp Rachel Hardy called on those responsible to explain themselves.

“This incident has caused a great deal of upset to a large number of people in the local community and to those that have been made aware of it on a wider scale through social media,” she said. “Wiltshire Police is appealing directly to the person or persons responsible to come forward now to explain their actions as soon as possible.

“If anyone else has any information available that may assist with the investigation, or know who may have committed this act, we are also appealing to you to come forward and speak to us.”

The county’s top police officer, Chief Constable Kier Pritchard, also condemned the vandalism. He tweeted: “This is a total disgrace. I laid our Wiltshire Police wreath at this Cenotaph on Sunday, November 11, alongside many war veterans to show respect to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to provide the freedoms we enjoy today. Name those involved and help us identify them.”

Robert Buckland, South Swindon MP, branded the incident a disgraceful act of vandalism and an “insult to the memory of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice”.

To report information, call Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.