A team of community volunteers, organised by the Meynell and South Staffs Hunt, banded together to clean up graffiti left by anti-hunting activists on a bridge which runs across the Blithfield Reservoir, near Burton.
Prior to the clean-up operation, both sides of the bridge had been daubed with anti-hunting slogans. Using what appeared to be spray paint, vandals scrawled ‘Hunting Scum ** off’ along both sides of the bridge, which runs over the 790-acre reservoir, which is a site of special scientific interest.
Rural campaigning organisation the Countryside Alliance called the vandalism an “attack on the local community” and urged anyone with information to contact the relevant authorities.
The graffiti was discovered on Boxing Day on Monday and was reported, but it remained in place for a number of days. The local hunt, the Meynell & South Staffs Hunt, which met at Blithfield Hall on Boxing Day morning, said the vandalism was discovered as members headed to the meet. The hunt does not trail hunt on the land managed by Staffordshire Water, which runs the reservoir, and did not on Boxing Day, said a spokesman. Members instead greeted a crowd of supporters at the nearby meeting point, they said.
The clean-up took place over two days (29th December-30th December), after a call was put out for volunteers to help.
A spokesperson for the Meynell and South Staffs hunt said: “The graffiti was an eyesore and offensive, especially for the many families with children that have had to walk or drive by it. A team of volunteers was quickly assembled and using basic supplies were able to successfully remove the graffiti after a morning of hard work. We enjoy great support on Boxing Day from the local community and were appalled that someone or a group of people desecrated such a lovely part of the Staffordshire countryside like this. Whatever message the vandals had tried to get across, it failed and actually ended up bringing the community together.”
The Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt will hold its New Year’s Meet with hounds and a pleasure ride on Monday, 2nd January 2023. The event will once again be held at Lower Loxley Farm, near Uttoxeter, and crowds are expected to gather to welcome the horses, hounds and riders before they set off around the neighbouring countryside.