26 May 2012

Extinguishing flame at war shrine an insult say police

8:38 pm on 26 May 2012

An Australian Police force is searching for a man who extinguished the Eternal Flame at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

The flame commemorates Australian soldiers killed in World War 2 and the police say the man's actions are an insult to the community.

Security tapes show a man in his early 40s jumping the enclosure around the Eternal Flame and using a fire extinguisher to put it out.

Sgt Peter Mellas says the Shrine of Remembrance holds a special place in the hearts of most Victorians, and the incident is upsetting.

He says the man's motives are unclear.

"We'd like to find out who this person is and what was going through their head when they did it," he said.

"We do have some witnesses, we're looking for more, and we're hoping that people may be able to assist us with who the person is and if they've seen them before or after the act."

If caught, the man faces specific charges under the Shrine Act.

Police say the shrine is already under constant surveillance, but security measures may be reviewed.