Vandals condemned over damage to local Stay at Home signs

Police and public health officials have expressed their disappointment after signs in Cross Hills encouraging people to stay at home during the lockdown were defaced.

Officers say the actions of the vandals - who have daubed red paint on the signs - will not be tolerated. The North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum says the behaviour is 'unacceptable and shows contempt for life'.

Road signs have been erected across the county to encourage people to stay at home to help save lives.

Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health said: “We would like to thank the majority of people who are sticking to the lockdown rules and respecting the measures we are putting in place to stop the spread.

“It’s very disappointing to hear such acts of vandalism are happening and that a minority of people aren’t taking seriously the great danger to life that the virus poses. In central and western parts of the county up to 70% of new Covid infections are attributed to the new variant. 

“In North Yorkshire more than 30 people have died from Covid-19 in the last week taking the total number of North Yorkshire deaths to 841. Now we have a vaccine there is light at the end of the tunnel but the rollout will take time.

“For another weekend you must stay home and only make essential journeys. When out please maintain a social distance, wash hands regularly and use a face covering in shops and busy outdoor spaces.”

Superintendent Mike Walker, North Yorkshire Police lead for the force’s Covid-19 response, said: “It’s disappointing to see that, while the majority of residents are sticking to the rules and staying home, someone has chosen to go out of their way to vandalise a sign which has been placed with the intention of keeping them safe and stopping the spread of a deadly disease.

“I realise a minority of people may be feeling tired of seeing coronavirus messages or feeling frustrated about being asked to stay at home. It’s not the way any of us would choose to live our life under normal circumstances. However, that does not give any one the right to deface a sign which warns the wider community of the risk of catching a virus.

“Despite the red paint that has been daubed all over the sign, or the intention of the person who damaged it – the message has not been obscured or changed; to protect the NHS and save lives, we all must stay home and only make essential journeys and when we do leave home – stay local.

“Our officers will be patrolling this weekend, engaging with the public, explaining the health regulations, encouraging adherence and taking enforcement action against blatant breaches.

“So please, at this critical point in the fight against Covid-19 – stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

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