A SNIPER may have struck at one of Ledbury’s landmarks – the iconic town clock.

Some of the milky white glass panels have been blown in. At first strong winds were thought to be the cause but now suspicions have been raised it is the work of a marksman.

The iconic clock, which is part of the Elizabeth Barrett Browning Institute, is in the care of a trust.

The trust sent in workmen to find out why the Victorian panels of glass, on the side facing Bye Street, have been blown in, leaving gaps.

A further inspection this week revealed small round holes in other glass panels.

Trustee Alex Clive said he heard workmen had found airgun pellets in the tower.

He said: “We fear someone has been firing an airgun. It seems likely that the damage is malicious, although we haven’t got to the bottom of it yet.”

Mr Clive ascended the tower himself on Tuesday, to inspect the damage, and noted small holes in two otherwise intact panels – holes that he did not notice a year or so ago, when he last climbed the tower.

While Mr Clive said he found no actual pellets, and did not want to “jump to conclusions”, he has reported the matter to police.

Comments on social media sites, including the Voice of Ledbury, have been asking why nothing has been done to fix the conspicuous damage, especially as the tourist season approaches.

Originally, some town councillors and trust members believed the glass panels may have been damaged through strong gusts of wind, during recent winter storms.

But Cllr Keith Francis said: “It’s never happened before.”

Mr Clive was due to speak to contractors this week to get the glass panes, which have to be sourced from abroad, replaced.

The cost of the damage is estimated to be hundreds of pounds.