Campaigner worried over damage to political signs

Tim Durham with a Labour sign
Tim Durham said the campaign signs needed to be distributed in a van due to their size [BBC]

A Leicestershire campaigner has spoken of his "worry" after someone tried to set fire to a political banner on the side of his house.

Tim Durham, campaigns manager for the Labour party in the Harborough, Oadby and Wigston constituency, has raised his concerns with police.

The incident was reported to the Leicestershire force on Monday but no arrests have been made, a spokesperson said.

He said incidents towards political signs and banners at his home and in surrounding streets had "escalated", which he said was "really worrying".

Mr Durham said equipment used to put up signs had been stolen from his Market Harborough home, with Labour boards, some of which are eight feet tall, disappearing from three nearby streets.

A Star of David was painted onto a campaign sign for Hajira Piranie, Labour candidate for the Harborough, Oadby and Wigston constituency.

Mr Durham said: "It’s [quite unusual] especially for this area. In Wigston and Oadby, sometimes you’ll meet people who are very angry about things on the doorstep and that’s understandable.

On 16 June, Mr Durham said someone entered his garage and took a sledgehammer and an iron rod, both of which are used for putting up election boards, but did not take other valuable items, which he said was "very odd".

The following weekend, Mr Durham said "somebody went round and drew the Star of David on two of the signs" on streets near to his home.

He added: "That’s when warning bells really started.

"Around the same time, somebody attempted to set fire to the banner on the side of my house.

"It’s really gone from being petty childhood things, to obviously someone who is quite organised and pointed."

Mr Durham said that three boards, each eight feet tall and two feet wide and installed more than a foot into the ground, all disappeared in one night.

He added: "It’s got to be someone with sizeable strength to lift them out, probably a couple of people and then they’ve got to have a van because there’s no way you can get them in a car. We’ve had to use a van to distribute them."

'You feel angry'

Mr Durham, who has lived in the area for 20 years, said he now feels he cannot send his daughter out leafleting.

"I don’t know whose door she’s going to knock on," he added. "And that person might come out and that might be the person who is willing to go to these lengths to hurt somebody or a political campaign.

"The attacks on my house do feel personal. You wake up with a very sick feeling in your stomach. You think about your kids. You feel very angry.

"I understand that people might get angry and might want to tell me, which is fine, I’m happy to talk about people’s different views."

A Leicestershire Police spokesperson said: "A report was made on Monday that a banner on the side of a property had been set alight.

"No arrests have been made and inquiries are continuing."

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