A VOLUNTEER who set her sights on cleaning up an Amble bus shelter says she was determined not to let mindless vandals win the day, despite seeing her hard work repeatedly trashed.
Rev Velda Nicholson, who serves as a town councillor, decided to target the Church Street stop with a scrubbing brush and several coats of new paint to help improve its appearance.
She spent two half-days attacking the grime, before embarking on a 6.30am start to get the first coat of masonry paint done – only to have graffiti daubed over it before it had even dried.
Undeterred, Coun Rev Nicholson returned to repair the damage and apply red gloss to the seating, but her efforts were spoiled once more by louts who not only scrawled across the fresh paintwork, but also threw food – including eggs and gravy – across the inside of the shelter.
“I started in early July with a plan to clean this shelter up, but it has taken until the end of last week to get it finished,” she said. “I managed to get one coat of paint on before they came and daubed graffiti all over it.
“Even while the paint was drying, they were at it. You could even see their handprints. Everything they could have done, they did – ripping up the wet paint signs I made, sticking cigarette butts into the paint, even smearing food on the walls.
“I managed to get a coat of white gloss on to cover up the graffiti underneath, followed by another coat of masonry paint, but then someone sprayed blue paint on it.”
Coun Rev Nicholson added: “I’ve seen the kids who hang around the shelter and they must be about 15 years old. This kind of thing has been going on for some time, but I am as determined as they are.”
Northumbria Police has been made aware of the situation.
Acting Inspector Graham Vickers said: “Officers will continue to focus on the graffiti and anti-social behaviour at the bus stop and other surrounding areas and will take positive enforcement action to address these issues.”