AN iconic statue in the grounds of Hereford Cathedral was sprayed with white paint in a spate of criminal damage in the city centre last night.

Two men, aged 22 and 21, have been arrested after a statue of Edward Elgar was damaged along with two properties in St Owen Street and St John Street.

CCTV operators in Hereford contacted police after spotting two people spraying graffiti onto houses in the area and officers arrested the pair at just before 1am on Gwynne Street.

PC Paul Hunter, from Hereford Police Station, said: “As this incident involved a well-loved monument of such local significance, we are taking it particularly seriously.

“The two men in custody are being questioned about their activities in the area around the cathedral last night. If anyone is aware of any further offences that took place overnight or if they witnessed any suspicious activity, please get in touch.

“Meanwhile, Herefordshire Council and the Cathedral authorities are liaising over getting the Elgar statue cleaned and looking its best again.”

Anyone with information can call PC Hunter on 101.