Police investigate as more swastika graffiti found near Hampstead Heath
- Credit: Archant
A police investigation has been launched as more offensive swastika signs have been found graffitied on notice boards and bus shelters near Hampstead Heath.
The Ham&High revealed yesterday that a large swastika had been daubed in black spray paint on a sign at the entrance to the Heath in Highgate Road.
Another swastika has since been found on a Heath notice board in nearby Swain’s Lane in Highgate.
The symbol has also been sprayed further up Highgate West Hill and on a bus shelter next to Swain’s Lane.
City of London Corporation, which manages Hampstead Heath, has removed the swastikas from its notice boards.
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Richard Gentry, the Corporation’s Heath Constabulary Manager, said: “We have removed the offending graffiti from the Heath’s signs.
“This behaviour is completely unacceptable and a criminal offence.
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“We have reported it to the Metropolitan Police and we will assist them in any way we can.”
Camden Police said officers were made aware of graffiti on a wall in Highgate West Hill at about 4pm today.
A spokesman said: “Enquiries into the incident are underway and police will work with partner agencies to progress these enquiries.”
No arrests have been made.
Highgate resident Florence Spencer first spotted the swastika in Highgate Road, scribbled in black spray paint on the City of London Corporation sign at Parliament Hill, on Wednesday as she waited at a bus stop.
She reported it to the Heath Constabulary, which polices the Heath, as soon as she arrived home.
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.”
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.”
Mark Frazer, a PR Consultant who works in Highgate, said. “It is incredibly distressing, even in the context of unprecedented levels of anti-Semitism 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 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.
Barnet and Camden were 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 at 69.
Anyone with information about the swastika graffiti is asked to call Camden Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.