North Yorkshire Police and English Heritage say they are determined to bring those responsible “to justice” and have put out a joint appeal for information after officers were called to Scarborough Castle twice in the past week after reports of criminal damage.
Vandals took wood from the castle compound and set it alight, blackening a section of the castle walls.
Scarborough Castle has 3,000 years of history, from Iron Age settlements, to the Roman signal station and medieval chapel.
The castle’s heyday was in the 12th century when it was developed by Henry II and King John. It was twice besieged by Parliamentarians in the Civil War, and has defended king and country from the Jacobites, Napoleon and the German Kaiser, when it came under bombardment during the First World War.
English Heritage’s area manager for Yorkshire and the South Lakes, Clea Warner, said: “Scarborough Castle is an important historic site and this is a serious case of heritage crime. We are very concerned that the Castle has been targeted in this way. English Heritage are working with the North Yorkshire Police to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.
“Heritage crime robs us of our shared history and causes damage to places of unique historical significance. It includes offences such as illegal metal detecting, theft of lead and historic stone as well as graffiti and vandalism to historic buildings. Thousands of people enjoy visiting the Castle every summer and we want to do everything we can to protect this iconic place now and in the future.”
In the first incident, which happened on Wednesday July 28, between 7pm and 8am, a wooden Victorian gate was removed and a frame ripped out of the wall.
Branches were snapped off trees and wood removed from the compound, before it was dragged to the King John’s Chamber block and set alight.
The fire damaged parts of the wall, and stonework was also removed and put on to the fire. The vandals have also left an array of litter which include BB gun pellets and socks.
The second incident, on Saturday evening, saw tree branches near the Barbican removed and taken back to King John’s chamber and again, set alight.
Scarborough-based Chief Inspector Lindsay Stamp, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “It beggars belief that anyone would vandalise one of the county’s most historic buildings. I know that the community as a whole in Scarborough takes great pride in attractions such as the castle – and will be keen to see the perpetrators brought to justice. I’d appeal for anyone who has any information to share it with us immediately.”
Anyone with information is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101, press 1 and pass it to the force control room. Please quote reference number 12160134659.
Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Scarborough Castle remains open daily to the public from 10am to 6pm.