Artist 'disillusioned' after vandals spray graffiti on We Love Dagenham mural
PUBLISHED: 17:20 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:20 16 September 2019
An art teacher who painted a mural to brighten up her neighbourhood has spoken out after it was sprayed with graffiti.
Tracy Drake-Tapscott spent her summer holiday in 2018 creating the artwork in Bonham Road, Dagenham, covering a bare, crumbling wall with a series of colourful images celebrating the town.
But between 7pm on Sunday, September 8 and 7am the next day someone sprayed green paint on a panel saying "We love Dagenham".
Tracy said: "I feel frustrated and disillusioned. It's quite a basic painting, but I spent hours and hours doing [the mural] to try and improve the area and cheer people up.
"Some people might not love Dagenham, but whether they like it or not they should appreciate people are trying to improve the area. It's up to the community to make the area a nice place."
The artwork includes a picture of the Essex flag, Valence House and a tribute to the Dagenham Ford workers.
"Most people really appreciated it. It's heartbreaking to see it vandalised. It makes us feel like we live in a slum. This was for the community's benefit. It's just a shame one or two people can spoil it," Tracy said.
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The 38-year-old mum estimated it cost her and a neighbour, builder Marek Pitera, a few hundred pounds to pay for the paints, cement and plaster needed to do the job.
The police confirmed the case adding no arrests have been made.
A Met spokeswoman said: "Police were notified of criminal damage in Bonham Road, Dagenham. It was reported that artwork on the wall had been sprayed with graffiti. Enquiries continue."
To possible witnesses, Tracy said: "If anyone knows anything it would be nice if they came forward. If [the culprits] there's no consequences, then what's stopping them doing it again?"
It's not the first time the wall has been targeted by vandals with scratches in the paintwork having appeared before.
Tracy explained it takes time to remix the colours to repaint the damaged sections.
"I don't have the time to keep repairing it. It's a shame people can't just leave it alone," she said.
Contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.