A Conservative Mid-Derbyshire parliamentary candidate whose election posters have been vandalised says those responsible are ‘pathetic’.
Pauline Latham has been putting up the posters with her husband Derek over the last couple of weeks ahead of the general election on Thursday June 8.
However, posters have been ripped down and defaced with a swastika, a moustache and the words ‘Tories out’.
“I have had this kind of problem before, but it is much worse this year,” Mrs Latham said. Instead of tearing them down and leaving them, they are also stealing them. Others have been smashed.
“There is a thief out there and it is clearly a politically-motivated crime and I am really angry about it because they are stopping democracy and not allowing free speech.
“I think there is about £400 worth of damage. Frankly, I think it is pathetic.”
Mrs Latham said some of the vandalised posters were on private land in which she had obtained permission from the individual landowners.
Mrs Latham explained how she and her husband Derek, 70, had been putting up the posters and boards over the last few weeks with the help of a friend.
Some of the posters removed included ones in a field opposite Duffield Hall, while others were in Derby and Little Eaton.
At some locations the posters have been ripped down up to four times despite repeated attempts to replace them.
Mrs Latham has reported the thefts and damage to Derbyshire Constabulary.
She said: “I am extremely angry because my husband has spent a lot of time replacing them. It has wasted his time and my friend’s.
“I would never go and deface someone’s poster. These thieves have had to trespass on private land to be able to get at some of the posters.”
She added: “We had a problem a few years ago in 2010 at Kings Corner in Oakwood with signs and posters disappearing.
“We also had problems at Morrisons in Derby where moustaches and beards were drawn on posters. I can deal with that, but when they start stealing them then that is theft.
“They do not have permission from the landowners like I do.”
• Other candidates standing in Mid-Derbyshire are: Alison Martin (Labour), Adam Wain (Liberal Democrats) and Sue MacFarlane (Green Party). See pages 18 & 19 for their election pledges.