Slew of graffiti the ‘worst’ in West Hampstead ‘for a decade’

PUBLISHED: 17:49 10 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:01 12 June 2020

Graffiti daubed in West Hampstead. Picture: Ian Cohen

Graffiti daubed in West Hampstead. Picture: Ian Cohen

Ian Cohen

Kilburn Flowers next to Kilburn Station. Picture: Ian CohenKilburn Flowers next to Kilburn Station. Picture: Ian Cohen

A slew of graffiti has been removed in West Hampstead and Kilburn from pavements, bus stops, phone boxes and closed shop fronts.

A series of spray-painted messages appeared after June 4 in West End Lane and Mill Lane and one includes the phrase “stand up world against black masses”.

“Dozens” of businesses were painted on including Alice House, Bellaluna, the Black Lion, Firezza Pizza, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Caffè Nero, Tannin & Oak, Wolfpack and Kilburn Flowers.

Some residents have said the messages are racist while it has also been suggested “black mass” refers to satanic rituals.

A pavement in Mill Lane. Picture: Ian CohenA pavement in Mill Lane. Picture: Ian Cohen

Camden Council said “there is no place for hate”. Both Camden and Brent Council confirmed all offensive graffiti has been removed.

Camden Conservatives leader Cllr Oliver Cooper called the graffiti the “worst” he has seen in West Hampstead for a decade.

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Cllr Abdul Hai, Camden Council’s communities lead, said: “We stand shoulder to shoulder with those calling for an end to racism and inequality here in the UK and around the world and, while this act of hateful vandalism is a reminder that there is much more work to do in our community, we are committed to making real change and our promise to our residents is to turn the anger that is being felt into action and work with you to challenge racism and inequality at every level.”

A bus stop in Mill Lane. Picture: Ian CohenA bus stop in Mill Lane. Picture: Ian Cohen

Cllr Shiva Tiwari (Lab, West Hampstead) called the area a “welcoming and diverse neighbourhood where racism has no place”.

Cllr Tiwari said: “It is a community that elected 3 councillors, all from ethnic minority backgrounds, as its local government representatives in the May 2018 elections.

“I abhor racism in all its forms and stand side by side with my fellow ward councillors (Cllr Rahman and Cllr Taheri) and West Hampstead residents on this issue.”

Cllr Tiwari added: “Such graffiti is unacceptable and shows how we must continue to fight deeply entrenched racism in our society.”

Firezza Pizza in West End Lane. Picture: Ian CohenFirezza Pizza in West End Lane. Picture: Ian Cohen

Cllr Cooper said: “Time and time again, small graffiti tags have been shown to lead to larger ones, and graffiti and fly-tipping have been shown to lead to more serious criminal offences and to residents feeling less safe.

“These things need to be nipped in the bud before they spiral out of control.”

This article was amended on June 11 to remove the word “racist” from the introduction and headline, due to the disputed nature of the graffiti messages.

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