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Vandalised underpass is repaired by community-spirited youngsters

PUBLISHED: 10:22 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:35 10 April 2018

Street art designed by young people in Thetford has been put back up after being targeted by vandals. Pictured are Thetford Police Cadets, Chief Inspector Paul Wheatley and Acting Inspectors Mike Andrews and Laura Symonds. Picture: @BrecklandPolice

Street art designed by young people in Thetford has been put back up after being targeted by vandals. Pictured are Thetford Police Cadets, Chief Inspector Paul Wheatley and Acting Inspectors Mike Andrews and Laura Symonds. Picture: @BrecklandPolice

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Artwork designed by young people in Thetford has finally been reinstalled after being vandalised seven months ago.

Chief Inspector Paul Wheatley and police cadets removing the vandalised graffiti boards from the underpass close to Thetford Priory. Picture: Breckland PoliceChief Inspector Paul Wheatley and police cadets removing the vandalised graffiti boards from the underpass close to Thetford Priory. Picture: Breckland Police

The eight graffiti panels were created by a group of 12 to 18-year-olds and were put on display in the underpass near Thetford Priory in March.

The artwork, which depicts parts of the town and the police, were part of a project from Thetford Academy and Catch22, who teamed up with Norfolk Youth Offending Team and Thetford Police Cadets.

Designed to brighten the underpass and help stop graffiti appearing in other areas, they were vandalised in August by people keying them, ripping off the paint and writing offensive words.

The youngsters spent hours researching the history of the town before they created their art.

A montage of the Thetford graffiti boards. Picture: Suzanne CrannageA montage of the Thetford graffiti boards. Picture: Suzanne Crannage

Ch Insp Paul Wheatley said: “What we wanted was an area where youths could express themselves through art and help with issues with the graffiti, which ticked two boxes.

“Since the boards have gone up we have had less graffiti.”

The panels were sent to a graffiti artist who touched-up the areas which were wrecked by the unknown culprits.

To prevent further vandalism, the artist has used Perspex sheets to protect the artwork.

Street art designed by young people in Thetford has been put back up after being targeted by vandals. Pictured are Thetford Police Cadets, Chief Inspector Paul Wheatley and Acting Inspectors Mike Andrew and Laura Symonds. Picture: @BrecklandPoliceStreet art designed by young people in Thetford has been put back up after being targeted by vandals. Pictured are Thetford Police Cadets, Chief Inspector Paul Wheatley and Acting Inspectors Mike Andrew and Laura Symonds. Picture: @BrecklandPolice

Ch Insp Wheatley, Acting Inspectors Mike Andrew and Laura Symonds and the Thetford cadets helped to put the panels back up for the community to enjoy.

“We have got some really positive comments from members of the public saying it was great,” said Ch Insp Wheatley. “If there is any further damage of anyone sees damage being done to the panels please call 101.”

The project was one of the community policing schemes supported through Norfolk police and crime commissioner Lorne Green’s early intervention fund.

Breckland police are appealing to local businesses to see if they would be willing to support the graffit project so boards can be put up in other underpasses and areas across the district.

“My ambition is to see more art projects in other districts and local businesses to support the project and see if we can enhance the project through both time and finance,” Ch Insp Wheatley added.

For more information, email Pc Amy Lucas at lucasa@norfolk.pnn.police.uk

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