Illegal metal detecting has been carried out at a war memorial in Eastbourne.
Sussex Police says it has received reports of digging next to the memorial of the B24 Liberator at Butts Brow at Willingdon.
The digging is consistent with Illicit metal detecting, known as ‘Nighthawking’.
The force’s heritage crime officer, PCSO Daryl Holter, said “Nighthawking is a shady unscrupulous act and when carried out in an area such as this it is deplorable and shows a complete lack of respect.
“The site of the memorial is protected by the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 and any contravention of this will be fully investigated”.
Eastbourne Borough Council does not give anyone permission to use a metal detector on its property.
A police spokesperson says the downland is rich in its history and is abundant in its heritage assets, so these sites are protected in law.
Eastbourne Borough Council heritage manager Jo Seaman said, “Any illegal metal detecting is an act of destruction of our collective heritage for the benefit of personal gain, but to desecrate a site where these brave young airmen lost their lives for some sort of trophy hunting is beyond belief. “
Anyone with information about this is asked to report on-line to https://sussex.police.uk/contact-us/response-to-appeal/ quoting serial 723 of 07/11.
Alternatively they can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 (www.crimestoppers-uk.org).