Mindless yobs have caused outrage after deliberately pulling down poppies placed around a town centre and ripping them up.

The boss of Workington’s Washington Square Shopping Centre, Richard Ashcroft, said the act of vandalism has left people extremely upset.

Mr Ashcroft said that the poppies had been hung in the shopping centre’s precinct, with the display put together to coincide with the launch of the countywide poppy appeal.

Cumbria Poppy Appeal was launched in the town on Saturday, and Mr Ashcroft said the community was proud to host the event.

“We were given poppies by the Royal British Legion and we encouraged all our shops on Washington Square to put them in their windows,” he explained. “Unfortunately some of the poppies that were outside were vandalised.

“We have got some CCTV footage. It was clearly a deliberate act.

“A small minority of the younger generation think they can just do what they want and they go unchecked.

“People have had enough.”

Others have echoed Mr Ashcroft’s horror.

Former Royal Engineer Thomas Glynn said the act was despicable.

The 71-year-old from Workington works 12 hours per week helping out at a nursing home and attends a Royal Engineers Association meeting in Workington Veterans Club once a month.

He said that his service makes the vandalism sting even more: “I ended up being a staff sergeant,” he said.

“When someone does that up here, it’s disgusting.”

Chairman of Workington’s Royal British Legion branch Mark Lavin has also slammed the vandals.

He said: “To me it’s disgusting and disrespectful.”

His wife and the Workington branch’s stewardess, Pat Lavin added: “There has been a lot of work gone into it.

“It’s an absolute disgrace how somebody can do that.

“I was just saying on Saturday how nice it looked.”

CCTV footage obtained by Mr Ashcroft has resulted in information being handed to police.