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Outrage brewed in Greymouth this morning when it was discovered that someone had defecated inside a new miners' memorial monument.
The large structure is still being installed on Mawhera Quay, and chronicles the 398 men who lost their lives in coalmining accidents on the West Coast over the past 145 years, including Pike River.
It is due to be officially opened on January 19, the anniversary of the 1967 Strongman Mine disaster.
But this morning, a concerned member of the public called the Grey District Council to report that someone had toileted inside the concrete structure. Contractors had to clean up the mess before the stonemasons could continue work.
The offender squatted in the water trough part of the memorial, which will eventually be entirely enclosed.
"It's a despicable act," council assets manager Mel Sutherland said.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn was disgusted with the "pig".
"I hope they move out of town because we don't need them here."
Whoever was responsible would have been aware it was a special memorial, he said.
- By Laura Mills of the Greymouth Star