A memorial dedicated to South Asian soldiers who fought in the First World War has been vandalised - just a week after it was unveiled.
Police are treating the graffiti as racially aggravated criminal damage.
The 'Lions of the Great War' was commissioned by the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick to honour the sacrifices made by soldiers of all faiths from the Indian subcontinent who fought for Britain in the First and Second Wars.
The 10ft high monument is the first of its kind in the UK.
It was unveiled on Sunday 4 November – a week before the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.
Police believe it was targeted in the early hours of Friday 9 November.
The words ‘Sepoys no more’ were added while a thick black line was drawn through the words ‘Great War’.
Sepoy was a term used in the British Indian Army for a soldier.
The graffiti has since been removed. Officers are reviewing CCTV footage to find those responsible for the damage.
Jatinder Singh, president of the Guru Nanak Gurdwara, said he was "extremely disappointed" but "remained resolute".
He added: “There was some vandalism to the backwall overnight which is disappointing.
“The graffiti was cleaned off and the matter reported to the police.
“Working with the council, we won't allow this vandalism to undermine the very strong message created by this new monument and the overwhelmingly positive reaction to its unveiling.
“What makes this incident particularly distressing, is the complete disregard and lack of respect for the significance of the statue and inscriptions installed recently to commemorate the losses felt by many South Asian families who lost their dear ones during the First WorldWar and to mark 100 years since the end of the Great War.”
- Watch: The 'Lions of the Great War' statue being unveiled
Sgt Bill Gill, from the Smethwick Neighbourhood Team, said: “We understand that this attack has caused a lot of concern in the community, and we are working to understand the reasons behind it and identify whoever is responsible.
“Officers had already planned to be at the remembrance event which is happening tomorrow at the statue.
“I’d urge anyone with concerns to speak to the officers attending the event.”
Sandwell Council Leader, Cllr Steve Eling said: “We are appalled by this disgusting act of vandalism and would encourage anyone with information about this incident to report it to the police.
“The Lions of the Great War is a fantastic monument to war heroes which we are proud to have in Sandwell.”