Members of Trowbridge’s Royal British Legion are appalled by the vandalism of the new gates around the town’s war memorial.

Two of the four metal poppies have gone missing from the gates around the memorial, in Trowbridge Park, which is being renovated, and it seems they were knocked off with force.

It is believed the poppies were taken last Thursday. A third poppy, which is damaged, has been taken to the offices of Trowbridge Town Council, in the Civic Centre, leaving just a solitary poppy on the gates.

Major Peter Williams, chairman of Trowbridge’s RBL, said: “It looks like they have just got a hammer and knocked out the poppies.

“This is really annoying and very frustrating.

“You would hope people would have a little more respect than to do something as stupid as this. I’m just appalled by this and I think it is utterly disgraceful. I would like the person who did it to come forward and accept their punishment.”

The poppies were part of a competition-winning design for the new gates by St Augustine’s College pupil Louis Williamson. They were due to be dedicated on October 27 to mark the start of Remembrancetide, after the gates were put up earlier in the summer.

Trowbridge town clerk Lance Allan said the poppies should be replaced in the middle of October in time for the launch of this year’s Poppy Appeal.

He said: “I’ve not heard the thoughts of all the councillors, but I’m sure they will all be disappointed with this act of vandalism.”

Wiltshire Councillor Jeff Osborn said Trowbridge Area Board helped pay for the new gates and he couldn’t believe someone would disrespect the memory of this country’s servicemen in this way.

Cllr Osborn, who is a member of the Royal Engineers Association, said: “I can’t express my outrage enough, but at the same time it never ceases to amaze me how lowlife some people can be.

“You would have thought there would be enough respect for someone not to do something like this.

“It is just shocking and this is something that just shouldn’t happen.”

Last Monday a three-week project renovating and cleaning the town’s war memorial began, aiming to improve the monument in time for this year’s Remembrance Sunday ceremony.

The work will enhance the appearance of the memorial which was unveiled on August 13, 1921, commemorating the 289 servicemen who lost their lives in the First World War with a further 102 names added after the Second World War.

Anyone with information about the missing poppies can call Wiltshire Police on 101.