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‘This is money we can’t afford’ – the cost of graffiti clean up at Penshaw Monument

A technician from Gavin Smith Stone Restoration at Chester-le-Street, was hired by the National trust to blast away the grafitti around the base and columns of Penshaw Monument. The stone is cleaned by a high pressure blast of very fine powder.

A technician from Gavin Smith Stone Restoration at Chester-le-Street, was hired by the National trust to blast away the grafitti around the base and columns of Penshaw Monument. The stone is cleaned by a high pressure blast of very fine powder.

GRAFFITI sprayed over Penshaw Monument has been removed.

The Echo revealed this week that the monument had been attacked on Saturday night.

Political slogans had been daubed along three sides of the structure and symbols painted on the columns in red paint.

The National Trust, which owns the monument, has had to bring in specialist contractors to remove the paint.

Ranger Gareth Wilson, whose area covers the monument, said the work would cost at least £1,500.

“It is along three sides and pretty much every column has got something on it somewhere, so it has taken them a while,” he said.

“As a charity, this is money we can’t really afford. We are reliant on donations and membership fees, things like that.

“If you look at £1,500 in terms of membership fees, that is a lot of people’s money going on cleaning off the paint that has been sprayed up there.”

And he criticised the vandals who had borrowed phrases and symbols from the graphic novel V For Vendetta and its 2005 big screen adaptation.

The book and film tell the story of a revolution against a totalitarian government in a fascist Britain, led by a mysterious terrorist in a Guy Fawkes mask.

“If this was supposed to be a protest against the Government, this is 
not the right place to do it because it has cost a charity a large amount of money,” said Mr Wilson. “We are a conservation charity– the work we do is for the good of the public. We are not the Government, we are not the people whoever has done this is protesting against.

“The money we are spending on this is not being spent in the way we would like it to be.”

Northumbria Police have confirmed they are investigating the attack, which is believed to have taken place between 5.30pm on Saturday and 9.30am on Sunday.

Anyone with any information about the attack should contact police on the non-emergency number 101 ext 69191, quoting reference 718 of July 27.

NEWS of the attack sparked a wave of online anger, with more than 250 people commenting on the Echo’s Facebook page.

Nikki Fairman-Smith wrote: “Shocking! How can people do this? Yesterday we had the wonderful positive news of Tommy staying in Seaham, which is great for the area, and then this - such a shame that people do this.”

Tracy Atkinson was also upset. She wrote: “Idiots! Ban spray paint or it’s never going to stop happening! Love taking my little boy there and now they have spoiled it for everyone!”

Wil Macdonald spotted the references to V for Vendetta and posted an image of the film. He said: “This is what they’ve copied. A bloke in a Guy Fawkes mask takes on a corrupt government.

“Only, he doesn’t do it by writing in kids handwriting on a monument in Penshaw.”

Rachel Wilson was appalled by an attack on such an historic part of the North East landscape: “Don’t understand how people think they have the right to vandalise something that has been there way longer than they have! Hope they’re caught!”

 

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