Hunt for vandal as 'No Brexit? No Council Tax!' graffiti daubed on walls across Sunderland
Graffiti linked to the delays in the UK's Brexit negotiations has been plastered across sites in Sunderland.
Over the weekend, the slogan "No Brexit? No council tax! 29/3" written several feet high in white paint appeared on walls across the Eden Vale and Durham Road area of the city.
Councillors have condemned the graffiti, while residents have also complained about the damage.
It has also appeared in Otto Terrace and Wearhead Drive, with similar words painted on a gable end in Salem Street South in Hendon in the lead up to the weekend.
The UK had been due to withdraw from the European Union on Friday, but Prime Minister Theresa May has been given an extension until May 22 to give her the time needed to pass necessary legislation.
Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for environment and transport, Councillor Amy Wilson said: "Sunderland City Council has no influence over decision making around the timing of Brexit – that is a matter for Central Government.
"The introduction of the Council Tax in the 1990s was also national legislation so whoever did this might have been better thinking a little more before these senseless acts.
"The council is removing this graffiti and, because staff are going to be diverted from other duties, there’s going to be a cost to the city’s council tax payers."
Lib Dem campaigner Julia Potts and Councillor Andrew Wood, a member for the Millfield Ward, have been recording the graffiti, speaking to residents, and reporting the locations to Sunderland City Council.
The Echo runs the Clean Streets campaign which encourages Sunderland to be cleaner and greener.
Julia Potts said: "This really is just senseless vandalism.
"Whatever the person who did this thinks about Brexit, there is no justification for damaging other people's property just to make a statement.
"The irony is, Brexit has nothing to do with council tax - but cleaning this graffiti up will cost local taxpayers money."
Among those left annoyed by the damage is Lee Axon, 45, who spotted the graffiti while out walking his dogs Carlos and Ronin.
He says posters have also been pasted up in the back lane off Durham Road.
"I think it looks disgusting and it's on public property as well," he said.
"I'm all for freedom of speech but now somebody has got to go around and clean that up and that's all going to come out of money paid for by council tax, which defeats the object really.
"They are just biting for the sake of it."
One 37-year-old woman who lives in Derby Street, who asked not to be named, said: "I can't see anybody in this street doing this, it's either families or people renting here.
"It's disgraceful and they have no respect for the area.
"It makes it look trashy. It makes it look terrible.
"There's already graffiti in the subway not far from here, but we haven't had anything like this around here before."
A 27-year-old who also lives in Derby Street added: "It makes it look trampy, I really think it's awful and we just don't get that type of graffiti around here."