SHOCKED residents in Stone were threatened with prosecution if they cleaned up graffiti daubed on a bridge in their town.
A group determined to fight back against a graffiti artist plaguing the town centre in recent weeks were planning to stage a clean-up of ‘tags’ painted on the railway bridge over Radford Street.
But Kieran McKnight, a youth worker at Christ Church and organiser of the clean- up team, told the Newsletter Network Rail staff had told him he could be prosecuted if he started work on the bridge.
He said he had been advised to contact the train company before setting to work.
“When I did call up, the guy said we must not go ahead with it and if we did we would be arrested and prosecuted for vandalism,” he said.
Mr McKnight said the representative he talked to said Network Rail would clean up the graffiti in their own time, but that they had other priorities that took precedence.
“I tried to tell them that it would save them having to fork out for it, but he wasn’t having any of it,” he said. “It’s a real shame, we thought we were a church group in the community working for the community, but unfortunately we can’t even do that.
“So much for David Cameron’s Big Society, we just found ourselves strangled by red tape.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said: "I can only apologise for the fact that Mr McKnight was told he would be prosecuted, when that is far from the truth.
“We are more than keen to work with local groups who want to clean up sta- tions and railway bridges.
“If Mr McKnight reports the situation to our helpline we will try to come and get it cleared as soon as possible.”