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Vandals cut Craig Mackinlay's face out of Conservative campaign board and burn election signs across Thanet

Vandals have cut the face of a prospective MP out of a campaign board and daubed liar across it in what is the the latest in a spate of attacks on Conservative election signs.

In the past two weeks some 13 boards bearing the face of South Thanet Tory candidate Craig Mackinlay have either been burned, defaced or damaged, including ones near Joss Bay in Broadstairs, in Ramsgate and Ash.

One of the burned boards at Joss Bay in Broadstairs (22871315)
One of the burned boards at Joss Bay in Broadstairs (22871315)

In the most recent attack, in London Road in Ramsgate, a board which had just been repaired was put up at 3pm and by the following morning, the picture of Mr Mackinlay's face had been cut out.

The parliamentary hopeful, who held the seat from 2015, says it has already cost hundreds of pounds to keep fixing and replacing them.

"It's not really having an impact on myself or the party, it's just costs a lot of money - £700 so far - and having to spend time sorting it out," he said.

"It's not uncommon. I've had reports from colleagues across the country experiencing the same thing, like Iain Duncan Smith.

"We've had about 13 boards damaged here."

Craig Mackinlay says 13 boards have been damaged or burned (22871319)
Craig Mackinlay says 13 boards have been damaged or burned (22871319)

He says it is a systematic, planned approached by people who are able to get around the constituency.

"If it happened once, you'd think it must be children," he said.

"But they are mobile and they've got to have a van as they have removed pallets on either side of the boards."

He says it happened before in the 2017 election.

"I know a number of members are scared to put posters up at their homes because of what's happening," he added.

Conservative Thanet district councillor Rosalind Binks says she removed a campaign board from her gate this week as she was concerned it might be targeted.

One of the burned boards at Joss Bay in Broadstairs (22871315)
One of the burned boards at Joss Bay in Broadstairs (22871315)

"Having seen the burned posters, I was nervous about keeping it out there," she said.

"There's something wrong in society if you can't say who you vote for without being frightened of offending someone or being scared of being attacked in some way.

"I feel very strongly about this - I hate bullies of any kind and this is what they are."

A police spokesman confirmed they are aware of the attacks.

"Officers are investigating four reports of criminal damage caused to signs situated on road sides across Thanet and Ash between November 12 and 18," she said.

"A report of three further incidents of criminal damage in Wingham and Ramsgate was received by officers on November 28 and enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances."

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