Residents ‘shocked and gutted’ after Michael Jordan mural in Colchester is vandalised

The impressive artwork at the School Road play area in Monkwick, Colchester, is now covered up by the perpetrator’s street tag.

Essex county councillor Dave Harris used about £2,000 of his County Hall locality budget to pay for the mural to be installed in 2021.

The councillors said he was “shocked and absolutely gutted” to see it had been damaged on Saturday.

Gazette: Appalled - Dave Harris said he was 'appalled' to find the mural had been covered by graffitiAppalled – Dave Harris said he was ‘appalled’ to find the mural had been covered by graffiti (Image: Newsquest)

Created using spray paint by Essex-based artist Kerry Judson, better known as Call the Artist, the mural replaced previous artwork marking the 2012 London Olympics.

“It was there to brighten the area up because it was looking run down and rusty,” said Mr Harris.

“This is public money now being spent twice which is a waste; once to install the mural and again to clean it up.

“What worries me is unless we catch the person responsible it will happen again and keep happening again.”

Gazette: Striking - Martyn Warnes, artist Kerry Judson and Dave Harris with the muralStriking – Martyn Warnes, artist Kerry Judson and Dave Harris with the mural (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Harris said he is offering a £100 reward to anyone who can pass on information to the police which leads to a prosecution.

He said swastikas have also been sprayed on infrastructure near to the park which he branded “appalling”.

“99.9 per cent of people in the area are very, very good but the odd one or two are having a negative impact which is undesirable,” added Mr Harris.

His ward council colleague Martyn Warnes has continued his own call for graffiti in Berechurch and Monkwick to be cleaned up.

Gazette: Issue - Martyn Warnes has called for action against graffitiIssue – Martyn Warnes has called for action against graffiti (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Warnes said the ward has a “long running problem” with buildings and property being vandalised by graffiti during a Colchester Council cabinet meeting in June.

The councillor said information he passed to the council since he raised his concerns has now been handed to the police.

“There has been a marked drop since June, it is almost like there hasn’t been any graffiti in the ward,” said Mr Warnes.

“It is disappointing to hear about the incident with the mural as there has been a real improvement over the past month.

“All of the outstanding tags of that particular “Lane” tag have all now been cleared off.”

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