DISMAYED volunteers who look after Neilston’s war memorial say the names of the village’s war heroes have been “desecrated” by a THIRD vandalism this year.

A picture shared by the group online shows a four-letter obscenity crudely etched into the stone monument – directly beneath the names of the hundreds of men who died fighting for their country in the First World War.

The photograph was shared on social media by the Neilston War Memorial Association (NWMA) in a bid to shame the callous culprit, thought to have struck late on Sunday night.

Matt Drennan, NWMA secretary, took to Facebook to condemn the latest vandalism at the Main Street site.

He posted: “I am sorry to have to report yet another mindless and heartless attack on the Neilston War Memorial on Sunday, October 8 – one which saw graffiti scraped under the plaques bearing the names of our men who died during World War I.

“The names on the war memorial are those of young Neilston men who died for their country – young men who are probably in some cases not much older than the stupid individual who thought it appropriate to desecrate their names in the dark of Sunday night.

“I challenge their friends to identify them before they get a knock on the door.

“I strongly urge anyone with information to contact the police and I hope that, once the person responsible is caught, they are educated about their foolish actions.

“We are totally outraged at this heartless attack on the war memorial in Neilston, which remembers the lives of people who died protecting our freedoms.

“You have upset very many people who are related to these brave men, or who respect their sacrifice.”

Mr Drennan continued: “This is the third time the memorial grounds have been targeted by mindless clowns this year.

“I would like to offer up a wee warning to anyone who thinks it’s open season to desecrate the memory of our brave soldiers.

“Have a wee look at the names on the memorial and you will see who you are targeting, because these families are still living in the village today. You will be found out.

“I would like to add that this action is not representative of our community or youngsters from the village.

“I have been offered help and congratulations very many times by the weans of St Thomas’ and Neilston primaries and the kids from St Luke’s and Eastwood schools while working down at the gardens during the summer.

“This is a brainless act by someone who needs pity more than anything else.”

In July, the Barrhead News told how the garden surrounding the war memorial was trashed by a drunk teen, who later confessed to causing £800 worth of damage.

And, just last month, a hedge at the site was torn out by a passer-by.

Inspector John McQuilter, of Giffnock Police Station, said: “There has been a spate of vandalisms in Neilston recently and we put extra patrols out in the village last weekend and will do the same again this weekend to deter perpetrators.”