Tuesday, 9 June 2009

BNP vandalism in Loughton and Waltham Abbey

http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/resources/images/937100/?type=displayLocal residents have condemned the BNP's practice of vandalism, which involves plastering BNP stickers and signs over lamp posts and bus shelters.

The BNP is guilty of hypocrisy, according to residents. While BNP councillors complain about vandalism, their party activists have been fly-posting the area over election time.

Lesley Lewis, 47, of Honey Lane, Waltham Abbey, told Epping Forest Guardian: “I first saw them when I opened the bedroom curtains and there was one staring straight into our windows.

“They were pinned up all over Honey Lane. Then when I went into town they were on every set of lampposts and bus-stop you could possibly imagine.”

Mrs Lewis contacted the district council who sent a lorry to remove the posters.

She said: “Their election leaflet said ‘we’re not in it for the money’ but they’re causing public money to be used to clear this up. Who did they think was going to clear it up?"

Loughton mayor Ken Angold-Stephens said: “They have incurred quite a lot of costs in removing them. They were up so high they had to use a ladder to remove them. It’s an illegal act and irresponsible.

“I’m a bit concerned they did break the law against fly-posting, and it’s a law which they proport to strongly support. They’ve been very strong in trying to clampdown on litter, graffiti and fly-posting.”

Local BNP leader Pat Richardson denies that it had anything to do with her party and blamed it on people trying to bring the party into disrepute, although it is unclear how opponents of the BNP would manage to get their hands on dozens of BNP signs and hundreds of party stickers. The problem of BNP vandalism has been ongoing for months. One comment on their website on 2 April, which was left unanswered by Councillor Peter Turpin, said: "Can you stop BNP supporters from sticking BNP stickers on bus stops and other places? In my mind it is as bad as graffiti."

The BNP don't like people removing their stickers either. Sometimes they conceal razor blades underneath the stickers. And notorious BNP thug Tony Lecomber was sentenced to three years imprisonment for unlawful wounding for his part in an attack on a Jewish schoolteacher whom he caught trying to peel off a BNP sticker at an underground station.

Epping Forest District Council has the power to take action against the BNP under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The cost of cleaning up fly-posting and defacement can be charged to the BNP. Government guidance states that:

Under section 224 TCPA 1990 it is immediately an offence to display an advertisement in contravention of regulations made under section 220 TCPA 1990, and a person found guilty of this offence may be fined up to level 4 (currently £2,500) in a magistrates’ court, with the possibility of further daily fines of up to one tenth of that level for each subsequent day in the case of a continuing offence. The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 has amended the defence in section 224 so that someone upon whose land an unlawful advertisement is displayed or whose goods or business was the subject of such an advertisement and charged with the offence of displaying an illegal advertisement has to prove either that the advertisement was displayed without his knowledge; or that he took all reasonable steps to prevent the display, or subsequently, to secure its removal. This makes it more difficult for the beneficiaries of fly-posting to avoid prosecution simply by claiming that they never consented to the advertisement.
Hopefully, Epping Forest District Council will be billing Councillor Richardson for the damage her activists have done - something that no other party has indulged in. Why is it that BNP activists just can't stop breaking the law?

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