Horror at racist swastika graffiti on Hampstead Heath
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Highgate residents were “horrified” after waking up to a large swastika daubed on a sign at the entrance to Hampstead Heath.
Florence Spencer spotted the slogan, scribbled in black spray paint on the City of London Corporation sign at Parliament Hill yesterday as she waited at a bus stop in Highgate Road, near to the Swains Lane roundabout at around 9am.
She reported it to the Heath Constabulary which polices the Heath as soon as she arrived home, but hours later it was still there.
Ms Spencer, 62, who lives in Castle Yard, in Highgate, said: “I was horrified, just horrified. It is disgusting. I am offended for the sake of humanity. It is a very scary time.
“I do not know why they have targeted the Heath which is a peaceful, innocent place open to everyone. This is so offensive to us all.”
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She fears that society is losing morality.
“Years ago we would never have seen this, but it appears that society is breaking down,” she said.
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She is also surprised that the Heath Constabulary didn’t react immediately to remove it.
A Heath walker, who lives in nearby Woodsome Road, said: “It is a very scary time for us all, not just for the Jewish community. There is so much hatred around. It is very sad to be going for a peaceful walk with my dog and to be confronted by this.”
John Slater, 74, co-chair of the Swain’s Lane Residents’ Association, said: “It’s appalling. We’ve never had anything like this here before so it’s taken me completely by surprise. It’s not something you’d expect in this area.
‘‘I imagine we do have a strong Jewish community here so it’s quite shocking.”
Mark Frazer, a PR Consultant who works in Highgate, said. “It is incredibly distressing, even in the context of unprecedented levels of antisemitism in the UK, that such aggressive and hateful vandalism should appear in Highgate. Sadly – this is the reality with which we are now faced. I very much hope that the culprits will be swiftly caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. “
A spokesman for the City of London Corporation, which manages Hampstead Heath, said: “We would like to thank the member of the public for reporting this.
“Graffiti is not acceptable on Hampstead Heath and we will not tolerate racism of any kind. We have reported this to the police and we are removing the graffiti today.”
A record number of anti-semitic incidents were reported in the UK last year with hate attacks doubling to exceed 1,000 in a single year for the first time in 2014, with Barnet and Camden the worst-affected areas in London.
The Community Security Trust (CST) – a charity that monitors anti-Semitism and provides security for the Jewish community recorded 1,168 anti-Semitic incidents across the country in 2014, more than double the 535 recorded in 2013 and the highest annual total CST has ever noted.
A third of the incidents in Greater London (194) were recorded in Barnet while Camden saw the next highest (69).