The writing is on the wall for vandals after a stretch of the new coastal path at Chapel Point - only officially opened days earlier - was splurged with offensive graffiti.
As police appealed for witnesses to come forward, vandals struck again at the weekend - targeting a bus shelter in the village centre, already under threat of being removed because of the cost of repairing previous incidents. Then on Monday, four bars on the fencing on the village green were destroyed.
Volunteers joined the village’s community warden and spent a day scrubbing off offensive words from the sea wall near the beach huts and North Sea Observatory, where the attack was discovered last Tuesday.
However, Chapel Parish Council says the village has suffered months of “wanton vandalism, fly-tipping and graffiti attacks” and now it’s time to introduce a zero tolerance policy to stop those responsible once and for all.
“There was some foul language on the wall and we wanted to clear it off before the visitors arrived at the weekend,” said Coun Paul Hibbert-Greaves, vice-chairman of Chapel St Leonards Parish Council. “It took all day to make the words illegible and the walls still need sandblasting, but it looks better than it did.
“The police have been informed but we now need the community to help us catch those who are responsible.
We want whoever is responsible for the vandalism to know that if we catch them, we will prosecute. It will be zero tolerance - no more second chances or telling offsCoun Paul Hibbert-Greaves, vice-chairman of Chapel St Leonards Parish Council
“What is worrying is we can’t blame holidaymakers as the season has not yet started properly, so this has to be home bred bad behaviour.
“It would be easy to blame the youths who hang around in the streets and the bus shelter - and do-gooders will say there is nothing for them to do.
“We’ve tried youth clubs and they haven’t worked, so now we need whoever is responsible for the vandalism to know that if we catch them, we will prosecute.
“It will be zero tolerance - no more second chances or telling offs.
“We have our community warden out looking and East Lindsey District Council has enforcement officers now - but we need the public’s help too. It is only a small village - someone must know something.”
Lincolnshire County Council’s Executive Councillor for Economy and Place Colin Davy, who helped spearheaded the coastal path project with Natural England, was first to flag up the graffiti. He said: “This mindless vandalism is a disgrace. We need to have a zero tolerance approach in our society to people who would do such a thing and when identified the perpetrators should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and made to restore those walkways in the full glare of the public.”
Lincolnshire Police have visited the site to take photographs and continue to appeal to members of the public for any information that may help them identify the tags and solve the crime. Call police on 101, quoting incident 198 of 5 March