March 10, 2021 12.57 pm This story is over 37 months old

Conspiracy rabbit hole: The fight over scrubbing off ‘COVID lies’ in Louth

Residents are upset by the vandalism

The words ‘COVID lies’ have once again been spray painted on walls in Louth, despite a local councillor’s best efforts to scrub away the vandalism on a weekly basis.

Police investigated last year when the graffiti first started appearing on a boundary wall on St Mary’s Lane in the Lincolnshire town.

Town councillor David Ford goes out litter picking and to scrub off graffiti nearly every day. He has recently removed graffiti in several locations in the town including on High Holme Road and St Mary’s Lane.

The words ‘COVID LIES’ were spray painted onto a wall outside Spout Yard Park in Louth. | Photo: Sarah Lingard

He is going out on Wednesday afternoon to remove more recent graffiti from earlier this week, which was spray painted on the wall outside Spout Yard Park. The same words were seen graffitied at the same location in December last year too.

He said East Lindsey District Council has taken action to clean up graffiti if it is on land it owns, while householders have also removed some. Police have also been seen out taking photos to gather evidence of the vandalism.

Photos showing some of the graffiti before and after it was cleaned by David Ford.

David told The Lincolnite: “It is pretty terrible. The first wave of graffiti was in white paint that could be removed. Whoever is doing it is now using stronger black paint that is tougher to remove.

“It is frustrating if you remove it that it will just come back again and that is the problem. The issue is we need to catch who is doing it.

“People are extremely upset and don’t want to be seeing this all over town. The recent spate is way beyond anything that has happened before.

“Last month there were around half a dozen, then two or three nights ago I saw even more and am getting reports from other people too.

“The graffiti is stupid. It’s a conspiracy rabbit hole stopping some people fighting against coronavirus, but we should be united in this battle.

“My wife works in the health service, and in the vaccination centre at the moment, and she can see the impact coronavirus is having on people’s lives.

“I know someone who didn’t have the vaccination due to conspiracy theories they had read who recently died. People spreading these conspiracy theories makes me angry and more motivated to do something about it.”

The graffiti “ruins the look of the area”. | Photo: Sarah Lingard

Louth resident Sarah Lingard said there has also been the same graffiti at the flats along Broadbank, on St Mary’s Lane and on the corner of High Holme Road/Grimsby Road.

Charles Street, Crowtree Lane, Breakneck Lane and other areas have also been previously targeted.

More graffiti on the outside wall at Spout Yard Park in Louth. | Photo: Sarah Lingard

Sarah told The Lincolnite: “It’s such a shame as the park is run by volunteers for the local community.

“It ruins the look of the area. The park is used by many people and not what they want to see on arriving. It takes a lot of effort by volunteers to keep the park looking so lovely.”

The words COVID LIES were spray painted on a wall in Louth. | Photo: Lincolnshire Police

No arrests have yet been made in relation to the vandalism.

A spokesperson for Lincolnshire Police said: “Investigations are ongoing. We continue to appeal for any information that may assist with our investigation, and anyone with CCTV.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting incident number 191 of March 9.

A spokesperson for East Lindsey District Council said: “It’s disappointing to see lack of respect for Louth’s public spaces and private property.

“Where we are aware that such graffiti has been sprayed onto land we own or look after, we work quickly to remove it.

“Louth Town Council are currently looking into procuring the services of a company to remove graffiti from the wider town, and we have agreed to support them with this through our Vital and Viable programme.”

Meanwhile, David, along with his wife Vanessa Pilny, also set up Litter Free Louth around five years ago.

They used to do weekly pick ups with a team of volunteers. This has been limited due to coronavirus, but David still goes out litter picking nearly every day.

In the past three weeks he has picked up around 40 bags of rubbish in and around the town centre and near the Louth Bypass and the A16 coming into Louth.