Outrage at racist attack

RESIDENTS of a housing estate where a home has been targeted by racists have spoken of their dismay at the shocking behaviour which has blighted their community.

RESIDENTS of a housing estate where a home has been targeted by racists have spoken of their dismay at the shocking behaviour which has blighted their community.

Community leaders have condemned the "utterly deplorable" attacks which have forced the victims to ask to be rehoused by Waveney District Council.

In the latest attack, the walls of their home were spray-painted with racist graffiti,

The victims who have been subjected to eight racially aggravated attacks since August 2001 now wish to move out of the area.

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The attack comes in the wake of a report last year that showed a sharp jump in the number of racial harassment incidents in Suffolk.

A report published by Suffolk County Council showed the number of reported racist incidents had risen from 135 between 1996-9 to 303 in 2001-2, with some rural areas seeing double the amount.

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The report was commissioned by the county's racial harassment initiative, and showed the Waveney district had the biggest percentage increase with incidents rising from six to 55.

Peter Austin, Conservative councillor for Southwold and Reydon said: "There has been trouble from time to time but the problem is it's spasmodic and usually happens at night when no one's about.

"I'm terribly sad it's happened again and would ask anyone with any knowledge to take measures to prevent a reoccurrence.

"I can't say in strong enough terms how disgusted I am that this should happen in a small village and the police have my wholehearted support in combating this type of utterly deplorable behaviour.

"I hope the people who did it are found and if necessary punished."

John Bunyard, senior housing officer for Waveney council, said he was "absolutely appalled" by the "particularly nasty" graffiti attacks and the council is working with police to try to identify those responsible.

"We are taking this very seriously and try to do everything we can to protect victims of such attacks. It is totally inexcusable – the graffiti was extremely abusive and threatening," he said.

Meanwhile, local residents expressed surprise that such things could happen in the small and generally friendly community, although they did say the area was sometimes vandalised by youths.

One resident had lost a caravan which had caught alight when a car was burned out.

Amanda Davis, who saw the offensive graffiti, said: "There was loads of it, it's completely wrong, those people have never asked for trouble, they don't deserve it."

Neighbour Melanie Byrne said: "I've only lived here a short while but I was horrified, I'd never heard of anything of this sort going on.

"It's a nice area to live in, the people are friendly and it's safe for the kids. I'm really surprised it can happen here."

Community police officer Sgt Peter Goodfellow has asked for anyone who might be able to help identify the vandals to contact police on 01986 835300 or on Crimestoppers anonymously on freepohone 0800 555 111.

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