VANDALS have left a community "devastated" after targetting a memorial to soldiers who died in the First World War.

In the early hours of this morning a sculpture outside Farnworth Library was bent backwards, leaving the depiction of a soldier damaged and out of shape.

Local councillors have described the incident as "utterly disgusting" and "mindless", and urged anyone with information to contact the police.

The 'Tommy' was put in place earlier this year as part of the Remembered charity's There But Not There campaign, which aims commemorate those who died in the First World War a century after the horrific conflict was finally brought to an end.

"This act of vandalism on Farnworth's 'There But Not There' Tommy is utterly disgusting and all the more devastating considering this year's remembrance marks 100 years since the end of the First World War," said Cllr Paul Sanders.

"We cannot let a mindless act like this deter our town's proud commemorations of our fallen, and further remembrance tributes in Farnworth will be forthcoming.

"We have been in touch with colleagues at Bolton Council and after an assessment of the damage it is hoped we may be able to stand out Tommy upright again."

Cllr Maureen Flitcroft added: "I'm devastated to the pit of my stomach to see our Tommy like this. The lack of respect is unbelievable.

"We have to remember that the people who do these kinds of acts are a minority. Farnworth has lots of fine citizens. Anyone who has any information at all please contact 101."

The sculpture was one of five pieces put up around Bolton at a cost to the council of nearly £4,000.

Cllr Jean Gillies said the vandals had "no respect for their town, their community or the dead".

She said: "I'm absolutey shocked and dissappointed to say the least. We chose to put it on the main road to avoid damage on the park but this goes beyond any respect anyone has for the soldiers and nurses who fought for this country.

"Its no wonder we struggle to keep things nice in Farnworth or attempt to make a change when this sort of behaviour is taking place.

"These people have absolutely no respect for their town their community or the dead."

The police have been informed of the vandalism and anyone with information should call 101 or use the Live Chat feature on, quoting crime reference 734/041118.