Police are investigating a hate crime incident in Bury St Edmunds.
On Monday Nathan Everett reported finding a ‘horrific’ sticker displaying homophobic content on a lamp post in Fornham Road.
The 24-year-old spotted it on his way home and was so appalled that he returned soon after to paint over it.
He said: “I was really shocked to see something like that in Bury because I have never seen or experienced anything like that in Bury before.
“My biggest concern was if a young person struggling with their sexuality saw it – you can imagine how that would make them feel.
“I think something like 44 per cent of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people have considered suicide and something like that is detrimental to how they must be feeling and what they’re going through – I just wanted to cover it up so they didn’t have to see it.
“Some people would just shrug it off but people who are not comfortable with themselves might not be able to.”
In case he finds any others, Mr Everett has purchased rainbow stickers – the rainbow is a symbol of LGBT pride – to cover them up.
“It’s a fight hate with love sort of thing,” he said.
He added: “I know it’s not a reflection of Bury as a whole, it’s probably one person and best not to pay attention to it, but I thought it best to report it to police so they know what’s going on and can put it in their logs.”
Pc Mark Ellis, who is investigating the incident, said the sticker was ‘disgusting’.
He said: “In this day and age it’s a dreadful thing to see and if youngsters were to see it they’d be asking questions of their parents about what it meant – it’s disgusting.”
He added: “I’m not aware of anything like that in the past, certainly not a sticker. We get people shouting homophobic things but they’re not necessarily recorded unless people report them to us.
“The problem is we can’t gauge how prevalent it is if people aren’t reporting it.”
Records show only two other recent homophobic hate crimes in the area, an incident in Bury on January 13 and another in Barrow on September 13, 2016, both involving neighbour disputes.
Anyone with information about the sticker is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 37/32379/17.