Oxford Mail£1,000 reward to help stop obscene play park graffiti (From Oxford Mail)

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£1,000 reward to help stop obscene play park graffiti

Oxford Mail: County Councillor Bob Johnston at the children’s playground in Playfield Road, Kennington, which – along with other areas in the village – has been hit by a spate of vandalism over the past few months Buy this photo County Councillor Bob Johnston at the children’s playground in Playfield Road, Kennington, which – along with other areas in the village – has been hit by a spate of vandalism over the past few months

A CASH reward of up to £1,000 would be stumped up for information that can prosecute vandals who scrawled obscene messages across children’s play areas.

Parish councillors in Kennington hope the offer will encourage people to step forward after a string of attacks in the past six months.

Village buildings, bus shelters, postboxes, telephone booths, and children’s play parks have all been vandalised with paint, scratched or damaged.

Graffiti left behind includes obscene terms of abuse and also “tags” – signatures left by serial vandals.

Parish council chairman Colin Charlett said the reward marked the revival of a previous scheme used in 2008 to deter the activities.

The previous offer was up to £750, but Mr Charlett said this time up to £1,000 – out of council coffers – would be offered.

He said: “We have had a lot of graffiti recently and it has included some really obscene things scratched into the surfaces at play parks.

“We do not want children reading that sort of thing.

“A new bench which we had purchased and put in Forest Side Field was also ripped up out of the ground.

“It is just a string of silly things, but we think this deterrent could make people think twice before they do it again.

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“This is mindless vandalism and completely unnecessary. We have also been told that one of the tags being used is known to the police.”

County councillor for Kennington Bob Johnston said the cash offer was “sensible”, but was meant more as a deterrent.

He said: “This was very effective last time, so hope-fully word will get around about this and it will work again.

“What I suspect is the cause is a new generation of youths who feel restless in the village and say there is nothing to do – but we have provided plenty to do.

“New football goalposts have been installed in our park, there is a youth club and there is also a BMX track.

“I can understand that the graffiti is self-expression, but it is not a form that I agree with.”

Some graffiti on postboxes and telephone booths has not yet been removed, Mr Charlett said, because it was the responsibility of Royal Mail and BT respectively.

Both companies have been contacted by the parish council.

The Oxford Mail asked Kennington’s Thames Valley Police neighbourhood team for comment, but received no response.

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