Vandals deface Covid 'stay-at-home' sign and tear it down as North Yorkshire deaths climb

Vandals who defaced a North Yorkshire coronavirus-safety sign showed “contempt for life”, say police, health and council leaders.

Saturday, 16th January 2021, 1:27 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th January 2021, 1:32 pm

The damage to the signage - one of many put up across the county asking people if their journey was essential and urging people to stay local - was also described as “unacceptable” by the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum.

It has warned that, with the new and more transmissible strain of coronavirus spreading across North Yorkshire, people must adhere to the lockdown rules.

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.

The sign was pulled down from its post and the word 'Lies' sprayed on in red paint.

“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 per cent of new Covid-19 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 roll out will take time.

“In North Yorkshire more than 30 people have died from Covid-19 in the last week."

“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, described the damage to the sign at Cross Hills in Craven as “disappointing”.

“I realise a minority of people may be feeling tired of seeing coronavirus messages or feeling frustrated about being asked to stay at home,” he added.

“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.”