A man has been arrested after a set of Bronze Age earthworks more than 4,000 years old were vandalised.
The Priddy Circles, near Wells, Somerset, are four stone rings measuring up to 200 metres in diameter. They are believed to predate Stonehenge. The man's arrest follows a joint investigation between English Heritage and Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
Tessa Munt, MP for Wells, told i: "If I decided to walk over Salisbury Plain with a spade and start digging up Stonehenge I'm sure someone would tap me on the shoulder, and these monuments are even older. What has happened is outrageous. We will never get this back."
According to the archaeology website Past Horizons, the damage includes "completely erasing" part of the monument.
"It's completely baffling," said Maggie Struckmeier, a spokeswoman for Past Horizons. "It is a travesty, these are very rare monuments and whoever did it should have known better."
The arrest followed the founding of a Facebook group, Damaged Priddy Circle Information, which attracted hundreds of members over the summer. Its online petition has amassed almost 800 signatures.
The petition states: "Incidents of damage to the heritage of the United Kingdom are increasing at an alarming rate, the incident at Priddy being just one."
A spokeswoman for Somerset police said: "A man has been arrested in connection with an investigation into damage to a historic monument in Somerset." She said the police arrested the suspect in late October on suspicion of "criminal damage to a scheduled monument".
He has been bailed pending further inquiries.Reuse content