Two benches which serve as a symbol of ‘hope and strength’ were stolen and vandalised in Motherwell.
Community members were left “disgusted” after a rainbow bench dedicated to a man who committed suicide was taken from Bellshill Road in Forgewood, while another was taken from Monklands memorial gardens.
One bench was recovered on July 1 after a social media appeal, but its plaques, including one dedicating the bench to a local man named Graham, had been torn off.
The vandalism hit friends and family hard as it happened just a day after the anniversary of Graham’s death.
North Lanarkshire councillor Kenneth Duffy told the bench was put in place about a year ago.
More benches followed the Bellshill Road bench and there are now more than 50 rainbow benches across the area dedicated to loved ones lost to suicide.
The plaques still have not been recovered and Cllr Duffy said that despite the small cost of the plaques “there are moments and memories with those plaques that the families will never get back”.
He said: “I was disgusted when I heard that this bench was removed and vandalised by mindless idiots.
“These benches serve our community with a safe place to sit and a reminder that there is always hope.
“The Rainbow Benches across North Lanarkshire and beyond are a beacon of hope and strength to so many and are often decorated with plaques in remembrance of loved ones lost to suicide.
“At a time of great worry and anxiety for everyone, this act is all the more reprehensible. I hope those responsible for this are found and punished for their actions.
“This incident will not deter our communities in fighting the scourge of suicide and letting people know that it’s okay not to be okay.”
Police Scotland has been contacted for comment.