Police launched a manhunt on Friday for suspected metal thieves who stole a memorial to two children killed by an IRA bomb as the father of one of the victims branded the theft “disgusting”.
The plaque to three-year-old Jonathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry formed part of the River of Life, a memorial for victims of the 1993 Warrington bombing.
It was stolen some time between April 20 and May 5 after a spate of war memorial thefts up and down the UK.
Parry’s father Colin told the Daily Mail the theft was “disgusting”.
He said: “It makes me feel utter disgust and it is reprehensible that someone should disfigure what is a memorial to two young boys and see it as something they can make money from without any consideration for the families who lost loved ones.
“It beggars belief that people can be so heartless and I don’t expect that they have any conscience.
“It is remarkable the lengths that some people will go to make some cash and it is one of those crimes that is so off the scale that it is disgusting.”
Ball and Parry were both killed when two small bombs placed in litter bins exploded within minutes of each other on March 20, 1993.
Fifty-four others were injured in the explosions in an area crowded with shoppers.
Ball died at the scene, while Parry was gravely wounded. He died on March 25, 1993, when doctors switched off his life support machine.
The day after the bombings the IRA admitted its volunteers had planted the bombs.
London’s Metropolitan Police seized hundreds of memorial plaques in a raid on a London scrap metal dealer’s yard on Monday and Tuesday.
The haul included a statue of Christ, an entire intact cross, a giant ornamental Oriental dragon statue, and copper cabling, Scotland Yard said.
“Around 150 intact memorial brass plaques with inscriptions commemorating the lives of loved ones, complete with stakes and plugs still attached from where they had been pulled out of the earth and ripped off walls respectively, were found, as well as numerous pieces of hundreds more plaques thrown into boxes nearby,” a police statement said.
Each plaque was estimated to be worth £50-100.