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Residents' horror after racist graffiti, including 'whites only', is daubed over Eye Skatepark

Residents have described their shock after a community skatepark was daubed with racist graffiti over the weekend.

Numerous racist slogans – including a swastika, “whites only" and references to George Floyd, the 46-year-old American whose death sparked the global Black Lives Matter movement last summer – were spray-painted on ramps at Eye Skate Park over the weekend.

Residents condemned the “horrendous” graffiti, which has forced the town council to close the skate park – just days after it was reopened following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Residents and councillors have now covered up the ramps at the skatepark. (45927330)
Residents and councillors have now covered up the ramps at the skatepark. (45927330)

Kim Crispin – who is a trustee at the Eye Community Centre, which is next door to the skatepark in Magdalen Street – expressed her horror at the incident.

“It’s very disappointing, and very shocking” said the 46-year-old.

“Just horrendous, really vile and racist.

“It’s quite big, you can read it from a distance – each letter is about three foot – and we can’t let children on there with that on it.

“We had to get sheeting to cover the ramps where all the writing was.”

The skate park is run by Eye Town Council – who have now concealed the graffiti with orange netting and a tarpaulin, which is weighed down with bricks.

Suffolk Police are working with the town council and community centre with investigations.

CCTV cameras set up at the community centre overlook the skatepark, and Mrs Crispin is confident the perpetrators will be caught and brought to justice.

“We have our own CCTV footage, which overlooks the skate park,” she said.

“We are in the process of looking through it, and should hopefully find out who’s done it.”

Suffolk Police inspector Mark Jackson condemned the incident. He said: “Graffiti like this will not be tolerated in our communities and we will continue to carry out high-visibility patrols in the area.

“Enquiries are continuing into the circumstances and I would urge anybody with any information to contact police.”

Officials have said they are unsure when the park’s gates will reopen. The council want to paint over the ramps, but this will require a special type of paint that can only be sourced overseas.

Mrs Crispin, who lives also lives in Magdalen Street, said: “We have people asking if you can just paint over it, but they don’t understand that you can’t do that.

“You can’t use normal paint because it’s on the ramps and it would make them too slippery - you have to get a special paint, but they don’t manufacture it in this country.”

Mike Smith, chair of the council’s environment committee, added: “The paint has got to meet certain standards, so we have to wait until we can find a paint that keeps the insurers happy.”

The skatepark has long been plagued by antisocial behaviour; back in late 2019 it was temporarily closed after becoming a hotspot for antisocial behaviour.

At the time, officials considered installing CCTV on the park, however these plans never came into fruition.

Mother-of-one Mrs Crispin said: “The skatepark isn’t used the way it should be – it encourages people to engage in antisocial behaviour and drug dealing.

“We feel sorry for the little ones who want to use it correctly can’t.

“You sit back and watch something that should be used for skating, and it’s being abused.”

Mr Smith insisted that the incident was not representative of the community at large.

“It’s a minority that are causing these problems,” he said.

“99 per cent of the children in Eye are good children, who wouldn’t do anything like this, but obviously there are a small few who are causing problems.”

Witnesses or anybody with any information are asked to contact Eye Safer Neighbourhood Team quoting reference 37/16577/21.

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