Community leaders have hit out at an ‘appalling’ graffiti vandal who has daubed tags on schools and private properties across Bury St Edmunds.
The vandal, using the tag ‘Stez’, has targeted Westgate Primary and Horringer Court Middle Schools, the hoardings at the under construction Glastonbury Court care home as well as properties in Scarlin Road and Lilley Close.
There have also been reports of the tag in Spring Lane, Fen Way, on the Howard estate and on road signs.
At Westgate Primary, they even blighted the school’s Learning Lodge, which is a £5,000 outdoor classroom funded by the PTA through fetes, sponsored events, cake sales and non-uniform days.
The spate of vandalism, between April 28 and May 14, has led the Bury Free Press to renew the message of our successful ‘Let’s Be Proud of Bury’ campaign, which last year inspired the community to take care of and show pride in the town’s street scene.
At Horringer Court Middle School, in Glastonbury Road, vandals struck twice - first daubing an offensive word on property and on the side of their gym on April 28 followed by the ‘Stez’ tag between May 13 to 14.
Head Tania Johnson said: “I find it quite appalling that people think they can do something like that. It’s sad that people feel they can destroy other people’s property.”
The graffiti has been cleared and the school has used the incidents to promote a message among pupils about respecting other people’s property.
In addition to their Learning Lodge, the graffiti vandal also struck on a wall facing the playground at Westgate Primary, in Brooklands Close.
Head Jim Cleaver said: “It’s disappointing that our school was targeted. We worked hard to create an outdoor area for our children. I can sympathise with individuals who have had their private properties graffitied.”
The school has also addressed the incident in assembly.
Echoing the ethos of our Let’s Be Proud campaign, Mr Cleaver said: “We need to be proud of where we live, where we come from and I think the physical environment is as much a part of that as the social make-up of the town.”
The Scarlin Road incident was on April 28 to 29 as was Lilley Close, which was on a garage door.
County and Borough Cllr Sarah Stamp, who represents the Horringer Court estate, said: “It’s disappointing when you’ve got people who are proud of their community and working hard to try and get a community centre on the estate.
“It’s particularly sad about Westgate Primary because it’s a building that the children have collectively fund-raised for.”
She urged anyone who knows who the culprit is to come forward and said as local councillors they were happy to have a discussion if there is an issue of there not being enough for young people to do in their neighbourhoods.
Cllr Stamp added: “Regardless of that there’s no excuse for causing vandalism to community assets.”
Borough Cllr Richard Rout, who represents the Westgate ward, said he shared the ‘outrage’ of residents on the Horringer Court estate and encouraged anyone with information about the incidents to come forward.
He said: “It’s criminal damage. It does need to be stopped. We really have to think about the people whose property has been affected.”
Reiterating our Let’s Be Proud of Bury message, Cllr Rout added: “We all know and acknowledge that Bury is a remarkable market town. It’s perhaps one of the most beautiful places to live in the East of England.”
Anyone with information about the graffiti should contact Suffolk Police on 101 quoting reference BU/15/1304 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.