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UKIP installs CCTV to protect its election posters from attack in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 12:47 17 April 2015 | UPDATED: 13:43 17 April 2015

UKIP candidate Michael Baker who had a sign defaced. Picture: Matthew Usher.

UKIP candidate Michael Baker who had a sign defaced. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2015

The UK Independence Party has resorted to installing CCTV cameras to protect its signs as the election campaign turned nasty in a number of seats.

In Great Yarmouth, voters were allegedly intimidated into taking down campaign posters, while vandals have also targeted poster boards in North Norfolk.

It comes after Conservative candidate Brandon Lewis had more than 50 signs defaced – including one carved into a swastika.

The UK Independence Party’s Mid Norfolk branch has said it would be placing miniature “spy cameras” to cover some of its signs in case of further vandalism. Branch chairman Stan Hebborn said: “We have had criminal damage done to a number of our signs.

“They are being investigated but we are having to invest in cameras. Technology has come on so far and, as such, we can invest in cameras which can be placed in trees or barns.

“These boards cost us money, time and the goodwill of landowners to put up. We will actively pursue prosection against anyone who does damage to them. It is a sad state of affairs.”

Norfolk police are investigating the two Mid-Norfolk incidents. The first happened overnight on April 6 in Gateley, near Dereham, when someone set fire to a sign.

The second offence took place between Sunday, April 5, and Thursday, April 9 when marks were painted on a sign on the B1146 Dereham Road at Colkirk.

Alan Grey, UKIP candidate for Great Yarmouth, said four households in Northgate Street had been “intimidated” by a group of men who knocked on the doors last Saturday and demanded that UKIP posters were removed.

Norfolk police said they were “aware” of an incident but no crime had been reported and no active investigation was under way.

Mr Grey said: “It makes me feel pretty sick that anyone would stoop to such a low level.

“I’m hoping it doesn’t get worse but, to be honest, I think it might escalate as we get closer to the election. It’s a real shame because we don’t want that kind of nastiness in Great Yarmouth.”

Yesterday, vandals targeted poster boards belonging to the North Norfolk UKIP party. In four of the 8’ x 4’ boards, the picture of the head of the candidate, Michael Baker, has been neatly cut out and removed.

Two of the posters were situated on the A148 at High Kelling and the second two at Holt. It’s believed the damage happened sometime between 7.10pm and 9.20pm on Tuesday, April 14. Mr Baker said: “It is obviously annoying that criminal damage has been done and that the democratic process has been interfered with.”

Norfolk police have confirmed inquiries into the incidents are ongoing.

Anyone with information about the Mid-Norfolk incidents should contact PC Andrew Barton at Dereham police station on 101.

Do you have an election story? Email annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

Mark Nicholls – Page 39

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