Friday, 30 April 2010

Campaign gets dirty – students arrested for spraying vote Lib-Dem on Tory posters

Candidates from all parties have privately grumbled over the last few weeks about how the campaign was unlike any they had known before. It was, in short, getting dirty.

Rumours circulated that one candidate had left his wife and set up home with a party colleague. Labour punted out claims a Tory had been posting obscenities on the web. Both were false.

Across the patch, the battle for the hedgerows was fierce. The Tories seemed to be winning, with the most roadside posters though the famous orange Lib Dem diamonds were also in abundance.

But all was not well. Posters – especially Tory and Lib Dem ones- were disappearing or being vandlised.

Now I report in today’s Western Morning News how two students have been arrested for spraying pro-Liberal Democrat messages on Conservative campaign posters.
A man and a woman, university students from Falmouth, were caught defacing a Tory party sign in Truro on Saturday evening, a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police confirmed.

“They also admitted to defacing a number of others, in total eight, between Truro and Falmouth,” he said. “They had used spray cans to put Lib Dem slogans on them.”

The officer in the case, PC Andrew Brocklehurst, decided it would be best to deal with the incident by way of restorative justice and has been in talks with the Conservative Party candidate Sarah Newton. (right)

A spokesman for the Lib Dems in the South West said they “utterly condemn any criminal damage or theft to posters or other election material”.

She added: “It is regrettable that theft and graffiti to posters of all parties – both of which are matters for the police – seem to be rife during this campaign.

“In some cases the damage to Lib Dem posters has been highly distressing to the households involved, with perpetrators trespassing on to gardens and private property, and using saws and wire cutters to pull down signs.

“We have reported every incident involving Lib Dem posters to the police.”

This includes the discovery of 68 of Lib Dem poster boards found dumped at Bickington on Dartmoor on Tuesday.

Tory candidate Ms Newton said her Conservative supporters, including many elderly people, had been intimidated by the attacks.

But the quote of the day though comes from Camborne and Redruth Tory candidate George Eustice.

“I have had my eyes cut out with a Stanley knife.”

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