Carnival and IT business hit by banner vandals

Richard Latimer with the banner which was cut down
Richard Latimer with the banner which was cut down

Vandals have been slammed for ripping down promotional posters and boards in Leighton Buzzard.

An A1-size board for Saturday’s Leighton Buzzard Carnival was torn away from the bandstand in Parson’s Close Recreation Ground and tossed into a nearby stream last week.

Meanwhile, the owners of Leighton IT firm Jamcrackers had a 6ft x 2ft banner cut away from a fence in the Billington Road area.

As reported on previously by the LBO, Leighton-Linslade Town Council, without warning, decided to remove around 30 community and commercial banners last month because it made the area look “messy”.

That prompted complaints from St Barnabas Church and Leighton Buzzard Drama Group who feared the success of their summer fete and Blackadder production respectively could be affected.

The council also removed its own material promoting its summer band concerts and the canal festival, and is now looking at ways to control community banners more effectively, although the commercial ones are likely to be opposed without advertising consent from Central Beds Council.

But this time it’s vandals, rather than the council, which has caused consternation.

Chairman of Leighton Buzzard Carnival, Mark Freeman said his organisation had backing from the council for publicity material in Parson’s Close Rec. Mr Freeman said: “We got permission. It was on town council land. There’s not a problem putting them up because they know we take them down again.

“It’s a shame that when people are trying to run events for the benefit of people in the town that folk can’t leave the advertising signs alone – these cost money to replace that could otherwise be benefitting the community.”

Pointing the finger at youths who are known to frequently loiter at the bandstand in the evening, he said: “The council has now got the board, it was found in the brook. It wasn’t damaged, just wet.

“It was A1 and quite heavy to lift. We decided not to put it back again. The people who did this have not touched the 2m banner at the playground.”

Mr Freeman added that the carnival committee had spent £500 on a set of boards and banners. “It’s not the first time we’ve lost banners,” he said. “We had 50 banners and boards five years ago and got 40 left. We had six long banners we put out every year and have three of them left now. A few years ago we put some up at the Morrisons junction and they all disappeared.”

Sabrina Latimer, Business Development Manager at Jamcrackers, based on the Harmill Industrial Estate, said she had been told by the town council that, despite its crackdown, it hadn’t removed her banner.

She said: “I just feel disheartened to be honest, if I had a call to take it down I would have done so immediately. We found the banner and saw that the cable ties had been cut and also a big slit had been cut straight through the ring, rendering it useless.

“It is such a shame as we have always found Leighton Buzzard a fantastic place for our business, we use as many local businesses as possible, and we do a tremendous amount of charity work.”

Mrs Latimer added that she was now worried about a huge banner she was having made to promote a charity event in October (Motown Monster Mash).

She said: “I have managed to obtain eight local businesses that would like to sponsor this, I am having a huge banner made with all their logos on. This banner will cost a small fortune but it is so worth it if it helps get us publicity to sell tickets as its to raise funds for Autism Bedfordshire who are struggling as Central Bedfordshire Council are cutting a lot of their funding.”