Parliamentary candidates fighting for a place in Government have admonished one of their supporters after he was found sabotaging opponents’ campaign posters.

The UK Independence Party’s Frank Day, standing in Carshalton and Wallington, and David Pickles, standing in Sutton and Cheam, issued an apology after the spate of torn and trashed posters led back to their party’s door.

Liberal Democrat and Conservative candidates had grown increasingly angry over the acts of vandalism – which resulted in both sides losing about 30-40 posters and boards each.

But Mr Pickles said he and Mr Day wanted to distance themselves from the party member caught red-handed in the act, and said the man has been told his membership will be revoked once it expires.

Mr Pickles said: “Unfortunately this member took it upon himself to systematically destroy political boards of our opponents.

“I in no way want to be associated with such juvenille behaviour and I too would like to offer my apologies to our political opponents for any distress caused.”

Both candidates stressed they wished their opponents good luck in the forthcoming election, and hoped there would be no hard feelings over the “unfortunate incident”.

Mr Day said: “In no way do members and candidates for UKIP condone his actions.

“I have issued an official apology to both Tom Brake and Ken Andrew for the inconvenience caused.”

Speaking after the apology was issued, Liberal Democrat Mr Brake said he understood passions ran high in an election, but this was a “step too far”.

He said: “You expect in an election there will be something of this sort, when people come home from the pub or a night out perhaps.

“But I have not seen anything on this scale before.

“We are still continuing to monitor what is happening and I hope it will stop.”

Conservative candidate for the constituency Mr Andrews said: “I’m glad they apologised, it is the appropriate thing to have done.

“Perhaps the member should do hard labour and put the posters he pulled down back.”