Authorities promise to do 'everything' to catch Gosport grave vandals

AUTHORITIES have joined forces to ‘do everything’ possible to tackle graffiti on graves following the second attack on a Gosport cemetery in two weeks.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 10:16 pm
More than a dozen graves have been vandalised with spray paint in Ann's Hill Cemetery in Gosport. Picture: Richard Lemmer

The community has been in uproar following the second attack of vandalism near the Wilmott Lane entrance of Ann’s Hill Cemetery on Sunday.

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Graves were defaced with red and blue spray paint, with red stars sprayed across some memorials, while others had the initials ‘TC’ and the words ‘Total Control’ written across them.

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A vandalised grave. Picture: Richard Lemmer

The vandal has also sprayed the words ‘cry babies’ across a pathway, which residents believe is a reference to a similar attack earlier this month.

More than a dozen residents brought household cleaners and scrubbing brushes to remove the paint.

But Gosport Borough Council has employed professional cleaners to remove the graffiti amid calls from police for residents to contact the authority before undertaking their own cleaning efforts.

Chief inspector Mark Lewis, district commander for Fareham and Gosport, said: ‘These incidents are shocking, and we share the anger, frustration and upset which will be felt by the victims, as well as the wider community.

‘We are taking these incidents very seriously and are investigating them as a priority. You will see an increased police presence in this area as a result.

‘Police will be working in partnership with the local council, as well as our local community, to do everything we can collectively to find the people, or person, responsible.

‘Our advice to you is that if you see a gravestone that has been affected, please do not clean it immediately. Contact the police first as there will be initial enquiries that we will want to carry out before they are cleaned.

‘We do however want to make clear how grateful we are to the local community for pulling together and being so supportive to us and to one another in the aftermath of these incidents.

‘If you have any information about who may be behind these incidents, please report this to police in the first instance. You can call us on 101, quoting 44210105394. Dial 999 if a crime is in progress.’

Stevyn Rickets, head of Streetscene at the council, said: ‘We are shocked to be dealing with a problem of graffiti on gravestones again in Gosport. This is unacceptable.

‘We continue to work closely with the Police to find solutions on how we can stop this from happening including the potential of increasing lighting, adding CCTV and additional patrols by our Streetscene Enforcement Team in the area.

‘We have employed stone masons to complete a professional clean to ensure no further damage is caused and are grateful to everyone that turned out this weekend to remove the graffiti from friends and loved one's head stones.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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