VANDALS have damaged poppy wreaths and wooden crosses in an attack on Edinburgh's Memorial Garden.
Volunteers from Poppyscotland discovered uprooted crosses, scattered the wreaths, and a wooden sign collapsed when they arrived in the garden next to the Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens on Saturday morning.
It was initially unclear whether the chaos could be caused by strong winds, but on closer inspection, it was agreed that the damage was due to vandalism.
The police are investigating now and have appealed to report witnesses.
Lord Provost Frank Ross of Edinburgh, who had officially opened the memorial garden on Monday, said: "It is deeply troubling to think that this damage could be the result of vandalism. In the run-up to the ceasefire and the centenary of the First World War, the Garden of Remembrance is Edinburgh's homage to the fallen, and the idea of being treated with something other than the greatest respect is devastating.
"We share Poppyscotland's concerns over the events and the Council is working closely with the police to determine how the damage has occurred. I urge anyone with information to contact the police immediately. "
The separate commemorative space on the other side of the Scott Monument, which has created 8,000 crosses of soldiers and women who lost their lives, has remained largely untouched.
However, Poppyscotland spokesman David Findlay said staff and volunteers were upset about the vandalism and worked hard to get the garden back in order.
In a joint statement, Poppyscotland and Legion Scotland said, "We can confirm that parts of the Edinburgh Garden and Field of Remembrance adjacent to the Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens were subjected to an act on the early hours of Saturday, November 3, vandalism , A number of items had been willfully uprooted and knocked over.
"When our staff and volunteers came to work yesterday morning, they were understandably very desperate about what they had found. The incident was immediately reported to the police and we set about rebuilding the destroyed sections. This was completed in the late morning.
"This is a truly regretful and irreverent act of malevolent violence that has immensely excited countless people.
"The garden and the memorial field are a very special place, and thousands of locals and visitors spend time each year thinking about and remembering.
"Hundreds of hours are spent by our staff and volunteers planting more than 8,000 souvenir symbols returned by followers across the country. Numerous commemorative wreaths are placed by representatives of a wide range of organizations during a service to remember the fallen at the opening of the garden. "
Inspector Alan Struthers from the Howdenhall Police Station said, "This is a reckless and ruthless act, and we need the help of the public to find out who did it.
"We have already made local requests. The gates were locked so the person or persons who did this had to climb over the fence.
"We asked if anyone had seen anything suspicious to talk to a police officer, or contacted us at number 101, stating incident number 1318."