Anti-vaccination graffiti daubed on roads signs in the Scottish Borders to be removed

Anti-vaccination and Covid conspiracy-inspired graffiti daubed on road signs across the Scottish Borders is to be removed, transport bosses have announced.

By Paul Kelly
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 8:48 pm
Graffitti near Spittal on Rule on the Dunion Road. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)
Graffitti near Spittal on Rule on the Dunion Road. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

Several months ago the term 'plandemic' began appearing on the rear of road signs on the A7 and A68.

It is believed that opponents of the coronavirus vaccines and lockdown restrictions also took advantage of the Tour of Britain passing through Hawick and other parts of the region last September to daub anti-vax slogans - with the potential of them being featured on TV coverage of the event.

Further road signs have also been vandalised with the message 'Media Virus', in reference to a perceived media bias towards the vaccination programme.

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One such sign can be seen near Spittal on Rule on the Dunion Road.

Now Bear Scotland in consultation with Transport Scotland has announced that 11 road signs will have the messages removed from the roads network over the coming weeks.

In addition to the vandalism there have also been regular protest gatherings of anti-vaccine and conspiracy campaigners with placards in Hawick.

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer, a retired senior Borders police officer, said he had no issue with peaceful protests but condemned the road signage vandalism.

He said: "I'm aware of these messages but I'm not aware of what the police have been doing about it. It is vandalism and it is totally unnecessary, it's expensive to remove and it is a waste of everybody's time.

"I have no problem about anybody peacefully protesting about anything and I'd encourage people to do that but there is no call for pure vandalism.

"Some of this graffiti has been there for quite some time. We started to see certain messages on signs when the Tour of Britain was here, obviously some folk took advantage of that to deface signs. That's when it started becoming visible to me.

"This was happening on the A7 at Martin's Bridge at Hawick, again on the route the tour was going to be taking, obviously being captured by TV cameras. It wasn't just the back of the road signs, the road surface also had anti-vaccination slogans painted on the road at Martin's Bridge, but the council removed them very quickly.

"There have also been protests at the Elliot bandstand in Hawick's Wilton Lodge Park and in the High Street, where they have been waving at traffic. That's a democratic right as long as they not obstructing people or causing offence. I don't have any problem with people demonstrating or protesting as long as it's done in a peaceful and lawful way."

A spokesperson for Bear Scotland: "We are currently liaising with Transport Scotland to schedule the work to cover the graffiti on 11 road signs over the coming weeks."