Graffiti gang targets tribute

By Eliza Plant

GRAFFITI vandals have targeted one of Ipswich's popular recreational facilities and a well-known tribute.

The entry statement to the city's Limestone Park, on the corner of Chermside Road and Griffiths Street, was yesterday covered with graffiti tags.

Nearby park benches on Chermside Road, below the water tower, were also vandalised.

Division seven Councillor Andrew Antoniolli, whose electorate includes the vandalised sites, said the Limestone Park gateway, which was a tribute to swimming stalwart Jim Gardiner, had been vandalised before, but it was only minor damage.

Mr Gardiner was renowned for his contribution to Ipswich's swimming community.

"It is a tribute to someone who contributed greatly to our community," Cr Antoniolli said.

Ipswich Central State School is situated across the road from both of the graffiti attacks.

The primary school students may have seen and read the profanity which included some four-letter words.

Principal Rob Lee said graffiti was common in the area.

"As I said, we have to live with it a little bit around here," Mr Lee said.

It is believed the attacks happened some time last week.

Cr Antoniolli said it would appear many of the tags were gang-related.

"You don't even have to be artistic to do what these people are doing - it's mindless," he said.

CR ANTONIOLLI said graffiti cost the community a great deal to remove and was a "widespread social ill".

He said yesterday afternoon council had been notified and he hoped for the offensive language would be removed by close of business or as soon as possible.

"We don't want that offensive language around school children."

Anyone with useful information is encouraged to contact council or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Cr Antoniolli said council offered rewards of up to $2000 for information on damaged or stolen council property that led to a conviction.

Officer-in-Charge Ipswich Crime Prevention Unit Sergeant Nadine Webster said police treated graffiti as wilful damage, which was a criminal offence.

Sgt Webster said police photographed and documented graffiti for reports.

"We also look at the type of graffiti or the tag and compare similar types of graffiti or tags to identify offenders," she said.

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