Newcastle bus shelters disfigured by swastikas and Covid graffiti in ‘horrific’ act of vandalism

Police are investigating after bus shelters along the Great North Road in Newcastle have been targeted by vandals spreading hatred and disinformation about the Covid pandemic.

Yobs sprayed swastikas and the words “Covid is a hoax” on a number of bus shelters along the main road on the night of Wednesday, December 8.

Drivers passing by early Thursday morning were shocked to see the vandalism occurring as the government rolls out new rules to tackle the Omicron variant.

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The graffiti was spotted around 8:20 am by teams from the Clear Channel company, which maintains the bus shelters, who removed it within an hour.

A spokesperson for Clear Channel said: “While it is sad to hear that an individual has vandalized a number of shelters, especially with something extremely inappropriate and upsetting, we are exceptionally proud of the local team who spotted and removed the graffiti so quickly. They are truly an asset to the city.

The incident was reported to police who are currently investigating.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: ‘Shortly before 8.45am today (Thursday) we received a report that offensive graffiti had been applied to bus stops along Great North Road.

“Investigations are underway to identify those responsible.

“Everyone involved will be treated quickly and vigorously.”

Newcastle City Council condemned the graffiti and said it was undermining their public health messages at a “critical moment” in the pandemic.

Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, Newcastle City Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Public Safety, said: ‘This is a horrific act of vandalism, which does nothing but undermine essential public health messages at a critical time in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, this message and the offensive symbolism used are at odds with our values ​​as a city and the values ​​of our residents.

“We took swift action to contact the bus shelter provider to ensure a cleanup took place as quickly as possible.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact the police through the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of the Northumbria Police website or by calling 101 citing the newspaper NP-20211209-0170.

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