Published: 15:36, 10 March 2020
| Updated: 16:56, 13 March 2020
Sickening racist graffiti has been daubed on the walls of a busy footpath.
The hateful slogans were painted along the pathway off Heathfield Road in Maidstone - prompting condemnation from anti-racist campaigners and a police investigation.
WARNING: This report contains images which some may find upsetting
Reports of the criminal damage were received by police on Sunday, and this morning the racist slurs remained visible despite obvious attempts by someone to clean them from the fences of houses backing onto the alleyway.
Terry Whayman, a retired driving instructor who lives in nearby Shaw Close, expressed his dismay at the graffiti when he saw it today.
The 64-year-old said: "I have never seen anything like this in the area. I think whoever has done this in an idiot, but it's a minority, it's not something that's the majority."
Jonathan Terranova, a member of Maidstone Anti-Racist Network, said he hoped the town would be unified in condemnation of the vandalism.
The 29-year-old, whose grandfather fled fascism in Italy, said: "It breaks my heart to say this but these kind of racist statements are becoming normalised recently. In fact they have never really gone away.
"Social media is definitely a major component of this narrative we are seeing, particularly among young people, and judging by the infantile scrawlings on the wall my deduction is that it’s by a naive child. Education is very important.
"Words are thrown around in an extremely careless manner and protected in the name of ‘free speech’. Free speech isn’t the same as freedom to abuse.
"It feels like I’m in a dystopian world where I’m asked for a statement to say why these words are wrong. They are wrong. Racism is wrong."
A police investigation into the graffiti is ongoing, with officers carrying out initial enquiries. Anyone with information is asked to call 01622 604100, quoting reference 08-1160.