DAMAGE caused to the World War One memorial in Cowdenbeath is "worse than initially thought" and specialist repair work is needed.

The Times has told you that the site has been a hotspot for anti-social behaviour in recent months, with vandals even damaging the memorial just one day after Remembrance Sunday.

Wreaths placed to remember those who sacrificed their lives in war were 'hurled' around, with local residents also abused and those responsible urinating in nearby gardens.

This followed an incident in April when four young people were arrested for damage to wreaths, and another case of vandalism in October when wheelie bins were taken to the memorial to be set alight.

Post-fire photos revealed charred pieces of the bins used at the base of the monument, with the fire causing more damage than had first been thought.

New wooden fencing has been installed along the boundary at the back of the war memorial for security, but Fife Council is unable to carry out the specialist repair required for the memorial itself, and the contract for the work will be put out to tender.

Sarah Roxburgh, Cowdenbeath community manager, said: “Work to repair the war memorial will begin in the New Year once we’ve awarded the tender.

"Unfortunately, the damage to the memorial is worse than initially thought and will require specialist skills that we don’t have within the council.

“We’ve recently installed new wooden fencing along the boundary at the back of the war memorial. This was agreed by ward councillors and paid for out of the local budget.

"This was in response to persistent and increased anti-social behaviour incidents involving neighbouring properties.

"We hope that the fence will protect the war memorial area and adjacent residential garden areas. As ever we would encourage members of the public to report any further incidences of antisocial behaviour online at www.fife.gov.uk/antisocialbehaviour or 101 if it’s happening at that time.

"Obviously, if someone’s life or health is in danger, they should call 999.”

Cowdenbeath councillor Darren Watt was pleased to see the new fencing erected, as he believes it would provide "peace of mind" for nearby residents.

He said: "I am pleased to see fencing has now been installed along the boundary at the back of the World War One Memorial in Cowdenbeath.

"This was agreed by local Councillors following recent anti-social behaviour, vandalism, and disruption to neighbouring residents.

"Not only will the fence offer additional security and peace of mind for the residents, it also enhances the area and helps tidy up the boundary.

"In regards to the damage to the memorial itself, unfortunately it is worse than initially thought. The fire was very fierce and one of the corners of the memorial crumbled away.

"This has been classed as a specialist job, however, it will have to be carried out by a specialist firm as Fife Council do not have the resources to repair.

"The job will need to go out to tender, providing full specification and detail. Hopefully this process will begin in the New Year."