YOBS took a blade to plaques which commemorate soldiers who died in service.

Kevin Blake, deputy leader of Basildon Council, hit out at "mindless" vandals who damaged two information boards at Wickford Memorial Park, off Rettendon View, Wickford, with a sharp object.

This is the only time they have been vandalised since being installed in 2011.

It comes just a week after the Echo revealed taxpayers had been left with a £700 bill after wooden fencing at nearby Wick Country Park, off Tresco Way, was ripped down and used to fuel a barbecue.

Mr Blake, who is also cabinet member for leisure and arts, said: "The damage to the information boards was a mindless act carried out by individuals who obviously have no respect for soldiers who have given their lives for our country and to their families who wish to remember them.

“We at Basildon Council wish to preserve our parks and open spaces and want the whole community to feel safe while they use our facilities.

“It deeply saddens me that damage has yet again been caused only a few weeks after another incident of vandalism by yobs.

“The council wants to spend its money wisely on maintaining its facilities and this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.

“I urge members of the public to report any incidents of this kind to the police straight away."