Yobs spray swastikas on Penshaw Monument in latest graffiti attack on Sunderland landmark

Yobs have vandalised Penshaw Monument, spray painting it with swastikas, the name of a far right organisation, a drugs reference and homophobic abuse.

Monday, 21st December 2020, 3:14 pm

The graffiti runs almost the length of the base on one side of Sunderland’s most visible landmark. It is on the side facing Washington and the River Wear.

It can’t be seen by the public unless they walk up Penshaw Hill, but visitors who have seen it close up are appalled.

The spray paint is in red and white and was used to write several several names, as well as the letters EDL (the far right English Defence League). The two daubings of homophobic abuse are both misspelled.

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The graffiti was first reported to police at 5pm on Friday, December 18.

The graffiti was first reported to Northumbria Police at around 5pm on Friday, December 18.

One Facebook user posted that the graffiti was not there when he visited the monument the Tuesday before.

There is considerable anger in the community at this latest example of loutish behaviour in the area. The Echo recently reported that swans had been killed by sick individuals in nearby Herrington Country Park.

It isn’t the first time the landmark has been vandalised, with a number of similar incidents in recent years – and people and businesses in the community to donate towards removing it.

This particular section of graffiti refers to cannabis.

Penshaw Monument is owned by the National Trust who have so far been unable to give a cost or schedule to clean it up.

The monument’s general manager Mick Wilkes said: “We are saddened by the vandalism to this special place. As a conservation charity the National Trust works hard to keep Penshaw Monument and the surrounding land at its best so that it can be enjoyed and treasured by the general public.

“We’re working closely with Sunderland council, but as the graffiti is extensive and Penshaw is a scheduled monument, it will likely require specialist contractors to remove it without causing further damage to the stonework.

“This close to Christmas, we’re awaiting details on when that can happen, but it may take longer than we would like.

The initials of the far right EDL are among the vandalism.

“It’s incredibly frustrating. The cost to remove the damage will be a drain on our charitable resources after an already difficult year for the National Trust.”

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “We are aware of an incident at Penshaw Monument. It was reported to us by the National Trust.

“The matter is being dealt with by Northumbria Police and anyone with information can contact us, in confidence, by dialling 101 and quoting reference 770, December 18.”

Two swastikas were among the graffiti on Penshaw Monument.

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The cost of cleaning up the graffiti is not yet known.
The graffiti was first reported to police at 5pm on Friday, December 18.