POLICE are investigating the placing of a Nazi symbol on an East Lancashire village war memorial.

Officers were called just before lunchtime on Monday, Armistice Day, after a large swastika was discovered against the Trawden cenotaph.

Vandals had also pulled down large cardboard poppy tributes to the fallen of two world wars and other conflicts placed there on Sunday at Remembrance services.

The placing of the fascist sign was condemned by all three main political parties.

Former Pendle MP and Conservative candidate Andrew Stephenson branded the vandalism ‘a heinous act’.

Labour election hopeful County Cllr Azhar Ali said he was ‘absolutely disgusted’ while Pendle Liberal Democrat peer Lord Tony Greaves called it ‘despicable’.

A police spokesman said: “We were called to Trawden war memorial at 12.55pm on Monday. Several poppy tributes had been pulled down and a barrel lid with a swastika on it had been placed against the memorial.

“We have removed the offending item. Inquiries into this incident are continuing.”

Lord Greaves said the yellow swastika resembled graffiti on a house near his home in Colne which was daubed with ‘Tony’ last week, on the home of a female Pendle resident two weeks ago and on a parish church a year ago.

He said: “This looks like the same idiots who targeted me last week and Trawden church wall last year. This is despicable. It is time the police found it who it is.”

County Cllr Ali said: “I am absolutely disgusted and shocked at what’s happened. The perpetrators need to locked up and the keys thrown away.”

Mr Stephenson said: “This act of vandalism is outrageous and wholly unacceptable especially as the country marks Armistice Day. I hope the vandal who committed this heinous act is brought to justice.”

Local resident and Trawden parish councillor Craig McBeth said: “How anyone could disrespect those who died for us is beyond belief.”