Remnants of a vandal attack on the Buttercross were discovered earlier this week after yobs threw purple, green and pink paint across benches and left hand prints on the walls.
The incident has been reported to the police and the Neighbourhood Policing Team are currently investigating.
Temporary Inspector Dan Jones, of Wakefield East and South East Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Clearly it is disappointing that a building of such importance has been disrespected in such a way.
“I will personally ensure that the investigation is thorough, and officers do everything that they can to identify the culprit.
“If anyone has any knowledge of this offence, I encourage them to come forward.”
Wakefield Council are in the process of identifying a specialist contractor to remove the paint.
As it is a specialist service, they say this process will ‘take time.’
Glynn Humphries, Corporate Director for Communities, Environment and Climate Change at Wakefield Council, said: “It is very upsetting that the Buttercross in Pontefract has been damaged by paint that appears to have been deliberately sprayed around the building.
“It is impossible to understand why anyone would wish to do this. The Buttercross is such an important part of our district’s heritage.
“If anyone has any information or footage of the vandalism taking place, I would encourage them to report it to the police.
“This is a criminal offence, and we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour in our district.”
Local groups and organisations have condemned the attack on the 285-year-old landmark, which stands in Market Place.
Paul Cartwright, chair of Pontefract Civic Society said: “The incident at the Buttercross shows the utter contempt and disrespect that those involved show not just for this historic structure, but for the community of decent residents and visitors who regularly use it.
“The culprits who are indeed a minority, need to face justice.
“It is believed that the damaged benches are part of the original structure.
“If the site continues to be abused, then we might call for a higher degree of protection by surrounding it with a fence; is that really what the majority would want, perhaps not?”
And Jayne Poppleton, of Pontefract Heritage Group said they had been working hard to promote the historical significance of the Buttercross.
She said: “What happened to the Buttercross on Monday is a real shame, because it’s such a focal point for the town, and it always has been.
“I know that like us, a lot of groups and organisations in Pontefract are trying to get people of all ages and backgrounds involved in projects and tours to understand the significance of the town.
“That way, hopefully, people will be less likely to commit these mindless acts of vandalism.
“What’s happened regarding the vandalism is awful, and we shouldn't minimise it or gloss over it, but let's turn it around and try and act with positivity - we can’t let people like that win!”
Anyone with any information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.