A MEMORIAL garden dedicated to former servicemen and women who have been lost to suicide has been targeted by mindless vandals.

Barrhead veteran James McEwan created a space at the town’s Waterworks Community Garden as a fitting tribute to troubled troops who tragically took their own lives.

But, in recent months, the Glasgow Road site has been victim to vandalism and theft, with plants ripped up and set on fire.

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James, who served with the 1st Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, which is now part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, told the Barrhead News: “The vandalism has been happening on and off over the past couple of months but mainly at the weekends.

“The wood from the planters was set on fire and one of my planters that my partner donated was stolen.

“There have also been people up here drinking and they just throw their bottles onto the ground, instead of getting rid of them properly.

“I’ve had people donating more plants but I don’t want to put too much in the garden because then it is just a temptation for people to continue to steal.

“The planters that we’ve brought in to replace the stolen ones are quite heavy, so they will struggle to take those ones.”

James, 64, is also being supported by members of the Waterworks Voluntary Group as the memorial garden continues to take shape.

He added: “On the bright side, I’ve a few volunteers helping out, including Susie Stewart, who has bought new signs to put in the garden, explaining what it is for, which will hopefully deter people from destroying the area.”

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Councillor Paul Aiken, who represents Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor, has slammed the vandals.

He said: “This is a particularly sickening example of mindless vandalism.

“The Waterworks Community Garden was established by James in memory of ex-servicemen who have taken their own lives due to post-traumatic stress disorder and also as a multi-theme memorial to all Barrhead people who have tragically taken their own lives.

“The word stupidity does not begin to cover what these vandals have done.”