May 30, 2022 10.19 am

Attacks on Margaret Thatcher statue ‘likely to continue’

It was vandalised with red paint and a Communist symbol this weekend

By Local Democracy Reporter

The vandalism of the controversial Margaret Thatcher statue ‘isn’t surprising’ and is likely to continue, a councillor has said after a second attack on it.

The Grantham statue was defaced with red paint on Saturday night, and a hammer and sickle – a Communist symbol – was spray-painted on the fence around it.

It comes two weeks after a man was fined for throwing eggs at it shortly after it was erected.

Lincolnshire Police are investigating the latest vandalism as criminal damage.

Two CCTV cameras had been installed by the council to deter acts of vandalism, but the threat of being caught hasn’t put off everyone.

South Kesteven District Councillor Ashley Baxter said the £300,000 statue is keeping Grantham in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

“It’s not surprising that it has been vandalised again. The council knew before they put it up that there would likely be public disorder issues like graffiti and vandalism,” Councillor Baxter said.

“Currently it still has a shield around it – I don’t know what the plan is for removing it. It’s highly likely it will be vandalised more often.

“The vandalism will eventually wane, but not for some time.

The communist symbol was spray-painted on the former Conservative Prime Minister.

“It has certainly got Grantham in the national news, but probably not in the way that the Grantham Community Heritage Association had in mind. It’s certainly not an advert for the town, saying ‘Come to Grantham and see our anti-social behaviour’.

“The statue has arrived years too soon. In order to get an English Heritage Blue Plaque, you must have been deceased for 20 years. That isn’t the case for Mrs Thatcher. Waiting would have been more sensible and more sensitive for her family.

“Councillors weren’t consulted before it went up, although I would have welcomed that.

“There is no prospect of it being taken down unless the level of vandalism and anti-social behaviour gets too much to tolerate.

“It has been put up using private money – I would not want to see public money used to take it down.”

The statue of Margaret Thatcher was installed on its plinth two weeks ago. | Image: RSM Photography for The Lincolnite

The statue sits on a 3m tall plinth with security railings and CCTV trained on it.

Lincolnshire Police issued a statement saying: “Just before 11.15pm on Saturday, May 28, we received reports of a person shown on CCTV acting suspiciously near the site.

“Officers attended and found graffiti had been spray painted onto the barriers surrounding the statue, no damage was thought to have been caused to the statue itself. This is being treated as criminal damage and an enquiry is ongoing.”

Baroness Thatcher, who was born in Grantham in 1925, died in 2013.

She was the longest serving Prime Minister of the 20th century, but remains a polarising figure.

Jeremy Webster, 59, had previously been fined £90 for egging the statue after it was put up.