Members of the public came across the destruction yesterday morning (December 15), at the end of the Old Toll Bridge on the banks of the Adur.
Adur District Council’s maintenance team worked with two members of the public to return them to dry ground later that afternoon.
The benches sat next to a memorial completed last year in memory of the 11 men who lost their lives in the 2015 Shoreham Airshow tragedy.
East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton urged anybody with information to contact police.
“This is an unbelievably mindless act of vandalism and especially offensive at such a sensitive site where families of the Shoreham Airshow victims and local people come to be able to seek solace and reflect,” he said.
“Goodness knows what the idiots responsible thought they would achieve.”
A spokesman for the council thanked the two members of the public who helped the maintenance team return the benches.
Councillor Emma Evans said she was ‘shocked and appalled’ by the incident, but hoped they would soon be secured back to the floor to prevent a repeat.
“Such vandalism is not welcome in our district,” she said.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said the force had been made aware of the damage and enquiries were ongoing as the matter was being ‘taken seriously’.
As of Tuesday afternoon the incident had not been reported to police, a spokesman said. They encouraged members of the public to report instances of criminal damage either online, or through 101, so they could investigate properly.
The memorial to the 2015 tragedy, in which 11 men died after a jet crashed onto the A27, was completed in May last year and features 11 arches, personalised to represent each victim.
Sussex artists Jane Fordham and David Parfitt worked with the families to ensure they accurately reflected the personalities of their loved ones.