The picture above shows the moment a woman bends down to read messages left at a cenotaph – before kicking and trampling on the poppy wreaths.
The footage, released by Manchester City Council, shows the woman – in her 20s – then brazenly walk off with a friend.
The incident took place during the early hours of yesterday at the cenotaph in St Peter’s Square in Manchester where wreaths had been placed to commemorate the Battle of the Somme and the soldiers who lost their lives.
Greater Manchester Police confirmed that a woman was detained on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage.
Manchester City Council warned that people who vandalised the monument would be caught and punished.
Councillor Pat Karney said: “The protection of our cenotaph is of the utmost importance to Manchester and the message is plain – if you vandalise this monument to those who gave their lives for this country, we will catch you in the act and work with the police to make sure that you are punished.”