POLICE in Northern Ireland are treating an incident which saw a war memorial vandalised over the weekend as a hate crime, it has emerged.
The incident occurred at a memorial in the Main Street area of Loughall, Co. Armagh in the early hours of Saturday morning.
A number of wreaths in remembrance of local people who died during World War I, World War II and the Troubles were damaged shortly before 2am.
It is believed that several males were involved and enquiries are ongoing.
PSNI Inspector Leslie Badger, of the Portadown Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "Shortly before 2am, it was reported that a number of wreaths were damaged at the war memorial in the area.
"It is believed that a number of males were involved and enquiries are continuing.
"At this stage, police are treating the incident as a hate crime."
The incident occurred less than 18 hours before a bomb exploded in a stolen pizza delivery van outside a Derry courthouse on Saturday evening.
Five men have been arrested over the attack, which fortunately resulted in no injuries.
There is no suggestion the two incidents are linked.
Insp Badger added: "We would appeal to anyone with any information or who saw anything suspicious at the time of the incident to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 130 19/1/19.
"Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."