‘Disgusting’ attack on Legion’s Rothesay shop

Bill Bicker, vice-chairman of the Isle of Bute branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, outside the Deanhood Place shop which was targetted by mindless thugs this week.
Bill Bicker, vice-chairman of the Isle of Bute branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, outside the Deanhood Place shop which was targetted by mindless thugs this week.

The Rothesay shop run by the Bute branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland was targetted by mindless vandals this week.

Helen Bicker, whose husband Bill is the branch’s vice-president, arrived at the shop in the town’s Deanhood Place on Wednesday morning to discover that dog dirt had been smeared on the front door of the premises and the pavement below.

“It was all over the door, the door handle and the pavement,” Mr Bicker told The Buteman.

“It turns my stomach just to think of it.”

Branch secretary Mark Lingard said the incident followed a separate occasion two months ago when the Union flag which flies outside the shop was mistakenly left out overnight - and was found dumped in a rubbish bin nearby the next morning.

Mr Lingard, who served in Northern Ireland during his time with the armed forces, told The Buteman his first thought was that sectarianism might be to blame for the two incidents.

“We might fly the Union flag,” he said, “but we don’t discriminate. We’re here to give support to men and women from all sides, no matter their political beliefs.

“What Bill and Helen discovered isn’t a pleasant thing for anyone to have to deal with, and for a place that looks after people, it’s just disgusting.

“With the flag incident, the flag isn’t easy to reach - you really have to reach quite high to pull it down.

“It’s just not acceptable to do this - especially to a charity, no matter who the charity is.”

Though the RBLS has branches all over Scotland, Rothesay is the only one to have a shop of its own, combining the sale of fund-raising merchandise with a private space where branch members can offer support and welfare advice to former service personnel.

“I’d just like to sit down here with the person responsible and talk to them about what we’re all about,” Mr Bicker added.

“We have a lot of people in the shop and are dealing with quite a few cases of combat stress, former soldiers who aren’t getting a lot of help elsewhere and so on.”

Anyone with information about those responsible can pass on the details by contacting Strathclyde Police on (01700) 894000 and asking for Rothesay police office.