Villagers voice apprehension over vandalism

A24 underpass
A24 underpass

RESIDENTS in Washington have voiced upset and concern over graffiti appearing in the village.

John Henderson, 46, of Montpelier Gardens, said that the defacement on the A24 underpass ‘appeared in the last ten days’. He said: “I couldn’t believe the extent of it when I first saw it. I thought it would have been the odd tag or drawing but not such an intensive amount from one end to the other.”

A24 underpass

A24 underpass

A tag is a signature used to show other street artists whose work it is, and in the past has been used by the police to find out who is resposible.

Mr Henderson commented that other people he had spoken to were ‘equally upset’. He added: “We have such a clean and tidy village where everyone feels safe and this sort of thing unsettles people, especially the elderly. It puts them off using the subway as they wonder if they are going to be confronted by yobs.”

However, not everyone thinks the graffiti was done by teenagers who live in the village.

David Horwood, owner of Village Larder and parish councillor, said: “It could easily be young people travelling through from Worthing or other villages.

“The children from Washington are well behaved and respect their environment.”

Mr Henderson added: “Whoever has done this is being unfair to the other youths in the village who have never done anything like this before.

“We now are looking at them all with suspicion.”

In the last financial year there were only 44 reports of graffiti in the Horsham district, with two thirds of these being cleaned up within three days, amounting to less than £10,000 per year.

A spokesperson from Horsham District Council said: “Reports are rare so we don’t employ dedicated cleaning staff, instead we use general street sweeping and cleansing crews as needed.’’

The graffiti on the underpass was reported and cleaned on Tuesday. HDC said: “We are undertaking this work on behalf of the county council which contributes towards the costs of this work.”

Anyone who sees graffiti can call the council on 01403 733144, they will clean it where the land is under their control or will work with the landowner in other cases to resolve the problem.

Mr Henderson said: “I’m annoyed about it and would like to see the culprit caught and made to help clean it up or do other work helping to maintaining the village. It might help educate them about the consequences of their actions.”

Police have not received reports recently of criminal damage in Washington and would urge residents to call in, preferably at the time of witnessing an incident, so that it can be swiftly dealt with.

If anyone has any concerns they should contact local PCSO Carol Boniface on 0845 60 70 999 or via the Sussex Police website and she and her colleagues will address any issues.