POLICE are not ruling out the possibility that the statue of a miner and former soldier which was covered in yellow paint by vandals in Scarborough was targeted in an anti-Semitic attack to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day.
The steelwork, Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers, which depicts one of the first Allied soldiers to enter the Belsen concentration camp on its liberation in World War Two, was daubed in paint on Thursday night.
Officers said they were keeping an “open mind” about the motives behind the vandalism to the artwork, created by sculptor Ray Lonsdale.
The artist said he hoped the use of yellow paint was not an act of anti-Semitism to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday.
Mr Lonsdale said: “I am just hoping it isn’t some twisted anti-Semitic rant.
“The real Freddie - and the people of his generation that the sculpture represents - came through a lot worse and I am sure the sculpture will do the same.”
The statue had been loaned to the town by Mr Lonsdale last year and local pensioner Maureen Robinson used her life savings to ensure the piece could remain permanently in Scarborough.
Insp Tony Quinn, of Scarborough’s Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “The statue is much loved by people in the town and many residents are very angry about this mindless vandalism.
“I am not aware of any anti-Semitism in the town albeit the statue has a reputation beyond the town. We keep an open mind on such things and we will take it into account.”