Vandals slammed after graffiti daubed over artwork at Hartlepool Rail Station
Rail bosses and a council chief have slammed vandals for scrawling graffiti on artwork at Hartlepool Rail Station.
A large mural inside one of the station entrances and artwork depicting local attractions and beauty spots have been defaced by so called ‘tagging’.
Officials say the vandals risked their lives by crossing the tracks to get to the artwork created by two Northern School of Art graduates on the opposite side of the platform that is out of bounds to the public.
Twelve works of art showing popular Hartlepool landmarks, including the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Greatham Beck, the Heugh Battery Museum were installed in 2017 after a competition by Hartlepool Council.
Councillor Shane Moore, Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “I am bitterly disappointed and very frustrated that anyone would want to deface the entrance mural and platform artwork in such a way.
“The platform artwork, designed by young Northern School of Art graduates Abigail Taylor and Owen Smith, provides an eye-catching welcome to the town and also helps to showcase some of the great attractions on offer in Hartlepool to the hundreds of thousands of people who pass through the station each year.
“The vandals have clearly gone to considerable lengths and I utterly condemn their mindless actions – both in terms of the damage caused and the risk they potentially put themselves and other rail users in when crossing the lines to access the artwork.”The mural inside the entrance by Teesside artist Suzie Devey was created as part of a Hartlepool tourism project and features local scenes including Seaton Carew’s art deco clock tower and HMS Trincomalee figurehead.
A spokesman for Network Rail, which owns the station, said: “Not only is it disappointing that images which were installed to improve the station environment have been targeted in this way, it is also an incredibly dangerous act.
“Whoever carried out this vandalism had to cross the railway to access the disused platform, putting their life at risk. We will work with Northern to clean up the mess and would remind people to stay off the tracks at all times.”
Northern, who lease the station added: “It is hard to understand what drives people to vandalise property – and the artwork of others – in such a way.
“Graffiti in this form is not art, it is vandalism and we will work closely with colleagues across the industry to deal with the damage and help trace those responsible.”
Councillor Moore urged anyone with information to contact Cleveland Police on 101.