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Parish counts cost of park graffiti
VANDALS have daubed metre-high graffiti on children’s play equipment at an Oxford park.
The letters ZUZ were sprayed in grey paint on the climbing frame, basketball frame and building at Mortimer Hall Recreation Ground, in Oxford Road, Marston.
Old Marston Parish Council now faces paying a total of £375 to clean the three tags.
Parish council chairman Charlie Haynes said: “It’s disgraceful.
“There’s nothing abusive but it obviously does not look very nice.
“It has gone from a blank canvas to something with graffiti.”
The cost of cleaning the equipment will come out of the parish council’s budget.
Mr Haynes added: “It’s not an enormous expense but if it’s all cleaned up then they could come back next week and do it again.
“It’s a constant circle throughout the year and if we have to pay that it would decimate the parish council’s precept.
“For example, at Christmas we support organisations in the village.
“If we got to the stage where we had to keep paying this out it would mean we would not be able to support them.”
The parish council spent £40,000 on new equipment including zip wires, swings and a climbing frame about 10 years ago.
Mr Haynes said: “I find it very distressing having spent all this money for the benefit of people in the parish for it to be vandalised by some unknown person.”
The parish council revealed the attack after figures from Oxford City Council showed in the past two months 303 incidents of graffiti were removed – up from 237 in the same two months last year.
Mr Haynes said: “I have been part of the parish council for 32 years and the problem has manifested itself in the last three or four years. It’s the worst we have ever had.
“If we painted it to a dull colour they would come again.
“I think the answer would be to have places where people can go in the city to practise their art.”
Last week Insp Andy Thompson, the neighbourhood inspector for Oxford city centre, said police and Oxford City Council would seek compensation from anyone found to be responsible for tagging.
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