Published: 13:44, 11 December 2020
| Updated: 13:46, 11 December 2020
Graffiti is spreading across a town following an explosion in the number of ugly scrawls since tough Covid restrictions were reintroduced, worried campaigners believe.
Activists in the centre of Herne Bay say the second national lockdown last month caused tagging to rise to some of the worst levels they have ever seen.
This comes after charity workers from the Coastwatch station in East Cliff were left feeling furious when they found four streaks of paint sprayed to the side of their building.
Estate agent Peter Goodwin – a member of the Herne Bay Town Partners, which helps clean graffiti off the side of buildings – says cases have increased by about 50%.
“It’s near enough the worst I’ve seen it in Herne Bay,” he said. “Nobody cleans it off.
“It’s everywhere, not just on the seafront, but also in the park, on the Old Thanet Way, near the station. It’s spread further now and is in areas it’s never been before.
“It makes the town look scruffy and encourages vandalism, at a time when people are trying to put money into the town.”
Mr Goodwin says the Town Partners are aware of cases recently at the Bandstand, the King’s Hall, in Charles Street and on the Old Thanet Way.
Coastwatch station manager Paul Clarke says, prior to the incident last month, the charity’s base has been targeted by mindless vandals at least six times since 2016.
“It costs us money to have it removed when we’re a charity that relies totally on donations,” he added.
“It’s not good for morale. It seems like people have so little respect for organisations like ours that they decide to spray paint all over our building.
“In my four years or so here, it has happened half a dozen times. It’s a sign of a lack of respect.”
This comes after the Victorian-style seafront shelters along Central Parade were damaged when they were targeted by vandals last month.
Canterbury City Council is urging residents to come forward with information about graffiti vandals and, in the process, be eligible for a £500 reward.
Spokesman Rob Davies said: "It's simply unacceptable that a charity dedicated to saving people's lives should be having to deal with the hassle of graffiti, potentially distracting them from their vital work in the community.”
To report incidents to the city council, email email@example.com.