Youths have irreversibly damaged a stone landmark left on the York Moors 320million years ago.
A series of large, balancing sandstone rocks known as Brimham Rock litter the Moors and attract thousands of visitors annually and until now have sat undisturbed.
But one of the stones was toppled from its perch in an act of ‘mindless destruction’, damaging the crag face as well as the rock itself.
The stone sits in ruins beneath what was once its balancing point before youths disturbed the site
The rock was toppled from the circled spot to the ground below, leaving the site damaged as youths also carved their names into the surface
Police have warned that not only have the youths damaged an important landmark, but they have also created a dangerous site for visitors, who descend on the site in their thousands each year
Five youths were spotted pushing the rock off the crag at the National Trust owned tourist spot at Summerbridge, North Yorkshire, where names were crudely scratched into the surface.
The rocks – also known as Millstone Grit – were formed after being eroded by water, glaciation and wind.
Five young people were spotted pushing the rock off its balancing point and names were found scratched into the crag
Before the stone was toppled, it had sat apparently undisturbed by human activity for millions of years
The rocks – also known as Millstone Grit – were formed after being eroded by water, glaciation and wind
The names were found scratched into the surface of the crag close to where the balancing stone once stood
The National Trust has branded the vandalism ‘completely pointless and needless’ after names were scratched into the crag
Many of the formations have been named for visitors to spot including the Sphinx, the Watchdog, the Camel, the Turtle and the Dancing Bear.
Helen Clarke, from the National Trust, said: ‘It might have been fun for some people. Actually, it is just completely pointless and needless.’
Rubble sits at the site after the youths were seen toppling one of the sites from the crag face in Yorkshire
The crag was scuffed as five youths toppled the stone from its perch at the popular tourist attraction in the north of England
North Yorkshire Police said: ‘At around 8.45pm on Friday, 1 June a group of five young people were seen pushing a rock at the top of one of the crags.
‘This resulted in the rock falling from the crag causing damage to the crag face. The damage this has caused is irreplaceable and it is now in a potentially dangerous condition.
Rubble gathered at the bottom of the site after five youths toppled the rock from its balancing point on the York Moors
‘The incident has not only caused considerable damage to both the rock and the crag face, but those responsible also put themselves in danger and have created a potential hazard for other visitors to Brimham Rocks.
‘If you have any information about the identity of those responsible please contact officers on 101, choosing option 2 and quote reference 12180097959. Alternatively email [email protected]’