TWO Dorset monuments have been daubed with paint by activists claiming to be from Fathers4Justice.

Hardy's Monument and the Nine Stones at Winterbourne Abbas were both daubed with graffiti saying "Read family court hell" and "F4J".

The attacks have been condemned as mindless vandalism by landowners and people who use the sites.

Fathers4Justice said the attacks were carried out by someone out to smear their campaign.

Chris Walsh, spokesman for the Dolmen Grove druids, which uses the English Heritage owned Nine Stones for ceremonies, said: "It has upset a lot of people that use the site.

"We use it as a religious site and are very concerned that someone has chosen to attack the site in this way.

"We are very saddened by the vandalising of Nine Stones by way of painting and have contacted English Heritage to offer our help in any clean-up operation."

Sean Flaherty, of Mouldings - which maintains sites around West Dorset on behalf of English Heritage - said: "It looks like gloss paint and is all over the stone that faces the road."

Andrew Duke, who owns the land around the National Trust-owned Hardy's Monument, said the vandalism was discovered yesterday morning.

He said: "It covers the bottom section of the monument. It's just mindless."

Brendan McCarthy, National Trust regional director for Wessex, said: "We are struggling to understand what possible benefit an organisation or its supporters can gain from attacking a much-loved part of Dorset's heritage, alienating our staff and supporters and the many thousands of people who treasure the monument's historic importance as well as the wonderful views it affords over the surrounding countryside and sea.

"We will have to divert precious staff, time and resources to cleaning up after this so-called publicity stunt."

A spokesman for Fathers4Justice, which campaigns for fathers' rights to see their children, said: said: "Fathers4Justice condemns unreservedly the vandalism of national monuments and landmarks anywhere in the United Kingdom.

"It is possible that F4J may be the victim of a smear campaign, given that recent attacks on heritage sites have coincided with the publication of several controversial books condemning family law."

The attacks come after the National Trust-owned Cerne Abbas Giant was attacked by activists claiming to be from the campaign group.

Dorset Police are appealing for witnesses to the attack.

A spokesman said: "This is wanton vandalism of two historic monuments in west Dorset, one of which dates back to the Iron Age."