Dozens of billboards ‘stolen’ in Sidmouth as General Election day looms

PUBLISHED: 06:44 06 June 2017 | UPDATED: 13:03 06 June 2017

Conservative General Election candidate for East Devon Sir Hugo Swire.

Conservative General Election candidate for East Devon Sir Hugo Swire.

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More than 30 billboards promoting General Election candidates in Sidmouth have been reported as ‘stolen’.

Independent General Election candidate for East Devon Claire Wright. Picture credit: Paula Fernley Photography.Independent General Election candidate for East Devon Claire Wright. Picture credit: Paula Fernley Photography.

Police have issued a warning following the disappearance of a number of signs belonging to parliamentary hopefuls Sir Hugo Swire, Conservative, and Independent Claire Wright.

Ian McKenzie-Edwards, who helped put a number of the boards up in support of Sir Hugo, said: “I think it is particularly dirty play. I would never think about going around pulling down the boards.

“I have lived here many years. I don’t recall, in all the time I have been involved in elections, that this has occurred in the way it has this time.

“I can’t believe people will resort to this.

“A good campaign and good policies is what it should be about – let the electorate make their own minds up.”

Sir Hugo questioned what the thieves were ‘afraid of’ and added that elections should be about politics, not trashing other people’s signs.

He told the Herald: “If you don’t want a Conservative MP, you don’t go ripping signs down.

“We will put them up again and hopefully the police will catch whoever is doing it.”

Ms Wright said: “We don’t know who is damaging or taking the boards and it is really disappointing, because it is a practice I would always condemn.

“With my 600-strong army of supporters, I am fighting really hard to win this election. But I will always fight fairly and honestly.

“It is particularly disappointing because my campaign is funded exclusively by local residents who have been amazingly generous, donating an incredible £9,000 over two weeks.

“Each board costs over £5, so it is local people’s money that is being needlessly wasted and that is deeply regrettable.

“I hope whoever appears to be targeting my boards will now stop.”

Sergeant Andy Squires reminded people that taking the signs was theft and therefore a criminal offence.

Also standing in the election will be Alison Eden (Lib Dem), Peter Faithfull (Independent), Brigitte Graham (UKIP), Jan Ross (Labour) and Michael Val Davies (Independent).


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