Obscene graffiti on historic monument

DISAPPOINTING: Mark Kermode, at the 2011 ceremony, said the vandalism was 'typical' of what teenagers get up to.

DISAPPOINTING: Mark Kermode, at the 2011 ceremony, said the vandalism was 'typical' of what teenagers get up to.

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GRAFFITI daubed on a historic monument in the south of the island is under investigation by police.

Vandals used blue paint to draw an obscene picture on the monument at Hango Hill, which is the location for the annual Illiam Dhone ceremony on Monday.

The same blue paint was also used to mark the nearby roadway and grass and a wall at King William’s College.

The perimeter wall between the college and Janet’s Corner has been marked with the inscription: ‘KWC=GRB.’ Similar markings have been made on the grass.

Police say the damage was discovered on Christmas Eve.

Sergeant Paul Kemp of the Southern Neighbourhood Policing Team said the offences appeared to be opportunistic, but he added they were keeping an open mind and various enquiries were being pursued.

He also appealed to the public for information, particularly if anyone had been spotted with blue paint marking their hands or clothes or from anyone who had lost any cans of blue spray paint.

Mark Kermode of the Celtic League, which holds its annual Illiam Dhone ceremony at the site on January 2, said the incident was disappointing.

‘Kids are doing this sort of stuff all the time. It’s a generally mindless act of vandalism but it’s hardly unusual. I hope the police give it as much effort as they did for the innocuous slogan writers on the road two years ago, which were not offensive. It’s typical of what teenage kids get up to.’

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He added he was considering speaking to Manx National Heritage, which he believes own the monument, to see if it can be cleaned in time for the ceremony.

In September the area was subject to a police investigation after election placards for several Keys candidates were taken from around the island and placed at Hango Hill. The culprits’ identity and their motives remain a mystery.

The placards placed there were for Middle candidates Paul Craine, Howard Quayle and Liberal Vannin’s Juan Cottier; David Cretney, Bill Malarkey and Kate Beecroft, who contested Douglas South, and Malew and Santon MHK Graham Cregeen. Speaking at the time, Mr Cregeen said he had no idea why six of his placards were among those moved.

Hango Hill was the site of the execution of Manx martyr Illiam Dhone and is a significant site for the Manx nationalist movement.

In January 2010 nationalist graffiti was daubied around the island mainly on roads and adjacent walls, including one on the boundary of then Tynwald president Noel Cringle’s home.

Each slogan gave the name of a country which has gained independence from the UK and the date when independence was achieved.

On that occasion, the graffiti was sprayed on walls in 12 locations around the island – including Bride, Andreas, Ballure Road on the coast road out of Ramsey, Baldrine next to the millennium clock, Whitebridge Road in Onchan, Braaid crossroads, Sulby Bridge and Patrick Road in Peel near the Raggatt.

The words Bahrain 1971 were painted on the walls of Friary farm, Ballabeg, home of Tynwald president Noel Cringle. Egypt 1922 was sprayed near the old church in Santon off the old Castletown Road and Jamaica 1962 was written on the walls of Ballakilley farm in Port St Mary.

In March 2010, 22-year-old Mark O’Meara appeared in court to deny four charges of criminal damage arising out of the incidents. He was later cautioned for the incidents.

The Illiam Dhone ceremony, marking the anniversary of the Manx martyr’s execution in 1663, is on Monday, January 2, at 2pm. There will be two speakers. One, in Manx language has yet to be finalised, the other, in English is to be Rushen MHK Laurence Skelly. A wreath laying will then take place followed by the singing of the Manx National Anthem.

Anyone with information about the graffiti should contact Castletown police station on 822222.

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