POLICE are treating the daubing of graffiti in Ballymena as a racist hate crime and after they said they were liasing with partner agencies to get it removed it was cleaned within hours
The words: ‘Romas go home’ accompanied by what appeared to be a hand with the middle finger raised in a rude gesture were daubed on a wall at the entrance to a pedestrian subway in the Larne Road Link area of Ballymena.
It is a part of the town where many foreign nationals living in Ballymena walk to work in local factories.
The graffiti appeared at a time of increased tension in recent months surrounding the issue of migrants in Ballymena.
There was public meeting in the town on the migration issue and Britain First also held rallies in Ballymena.
The PSNI, on Friday, confirmed to ‘Ballymena Daily’ they received a report on of graffiti discovered at the Larne Road Link.
A spokesman said: “At around 12:30pm, it was reported that racist graffiti was located in the area. Officers have liaised with partner agencies to have the graffiti removed from the area.
“Enquiries are continuing and at this stage, police are treating the incident as a hate crime.
“This is not reflective of the local community of Ballymena. I would urge people to please remember that everyone who has made their home in Ballymena has the right to be shown respect and tolerance.
“Officers continue to work closely with key stakeholders and partner agencies to make Ballymena a safe place for everyone to live and work.
“We are appealing to anyone with any information about this incident to contact police in Ballymena on 101, quoting reference number 520 16/11/18.
“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”
A Mid and East Antrim Borough Council spokesperson told ‘Ballymena Daily’: “Council are working with the PCSP (Policing and Community Safety Partnership) and PSNI to remove this graffiti as soon as possible.
“We continue to work with statutory agencies, elected representatives, and community leaders in Mid and East Antrim to ensure everyone who lives, works and visits here is treated with dignity and respect.
“We would encourage anyone with any information to contact the PSNI or Crimestoppers.”