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Friday, 9 July 2010

Pub targeted with graffiti after it was venue for BNP meetings

A pub which has been the venue for recent British National Party meetings has been targeted with graffiti.

A clean-up operation is under way around the Twisted Oak pub at St John's Hill, St Thomas, after it was targeted by graffiti vandals. It is expected to cost several hundred pounds to remove and may lead to the closure of roads affected.

Slogans calling for a boycott of the popular pub were daubed in yellow and black paint on roads leading to the pub and on bridge supports. Similar messages were painted on the surface of Balls Farm Road and Little John's Cross Hill which lead to the pub.

Dawn Oliver, who runs the pub with her partner Phil Lake, said she had received a warning phone call before the incident from a woman claiming to belong to an anti-fascist group.

Ms Oliver said: "She said that if we didn't do something to stop the BNP using the pub they would do something.

"She called again asking to bring in a leaflet but I said that I was not going to stop the BNP coming.

"After that we had the graffiti and now I have received an email that is not particularly pleasant about supporting their campaign.

"I have passed that on to the police. The worry is you don't know what else might happen."

Ms Oliver said the BNP met at the pub once every couple of months, and on the last occasion their meeting coincided with a get-together for the UK Independence Party.

She said: "The BNP people are very polite and very courteous. They do not approach other customers, they meet behind curtains and are very pleasant.

"I have no interest in politics but they are nice people.

"It is a matter of democracy. They are entitled to meet and they come here and spend their money and don't bother anyone. They are not doing anything wrong.

"The sad thing is that now the ordinary taxpayer has to pay to clear up the graffiti, which isn't fair at all."

She added: "We are well known as a friendly place and we have all sorts of clubs meeting here. We are certainly not going to be a intimidated by this.

"It is very much business as usual here."

A spokesman for the city council said it would take a couple of days to clean off the graffiti.
He said: "We will begin cleaning this today but it covers quite an area — the road surface in Balls Farm Road and Little John's Cross Hill as well as the footbridge leading across to Ide.

"It will cost several hundred pounds to remove and the road may have to be closed, or at least stop and go boards used while the work is being done."

This is Exeter