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12 April 2014
Vandals damage rock art in Northumberland

Vandals carved into the historic rock art at Lordenshaw in Rothbury, Northumberland (England). Police are appealing for information after the rock panel near the Simonside Hills was targeted by vandals The site, below the Simonside Hills in Northumberland National Park, has sweeping views over the town and the Coquet Valley, and attracts many visitors. But now the words 'DONZ MIK JAZ' have been carved into a rock on the main cup and ring panel.
     "A lot of local people are incredibly annoyed about this, because of the sense of pride in their local heritage," said national park historic environment officer Chris Jones. The rock art is part of a complex archaeological landscape at Lordenshaws, which was designated as a scheduled ancient monument as long ago as the 1950s because of its importance. "It is precious and a special place because it is a connection between the people from that area thousands of years ago to communities today," said Mr Jones.
     Rob Young, English Heritage inspector for the North East, said: "Incidents like this are very rare. But Lordenshaws is a tremendous landscape ranging from the Neolithic to the medieval where people are given a fantastic insight into archaeology only 100 metres from a car park."
     Neighbourhood Inspector Paul Truscott said: "We're working closely with Northumberland National Park and English Heritage and are carrying out inquiries to identify those responsible. The person or people who have done this might think it was nothing more than a bit of fun. However, they've spoilt an ancient monument that many people come to visit."
     Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101, quoting reference 487 070414, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Edited from The Journal (9 April 2014)

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