Vandals pour industrial paint stripper over 20 vehicles in a Harborough street

The “devastating” incident is feared to have caused tens of thousands of pounds of damage to residents’ vehicles

Monday, 26th April 2021, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 26th April 2021, 11:48 am

Vandals who attacked over 20 vehicles in a Market Harborough street with industrial paint stripper are today being hunted by police.

The criminals seriously damaged cars and vans up and down Caxton Street, off Northampton Road, late on Saturday night or early yesterday morning.

The “devastating” incident is feared to have caused tens of thousands of pounds of damage to residents’ vehicles.

Angry...Amy Bradshaw with her vandalised car after the attack on Caxton Street on Saturday evening. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

The offenders are thought to have struck between 11pm on Saturday night and the early hours of yesterday.

The mass attack comes after a mini-wave of vandalism and anti-social behaviour has swept Market Harborough since the Covid lockdown began to be lifted earlier this month.

Harborough council leader Phil King today branded the culprits “cowardly and callous” as he urged people to “grass up their mates” to police.

Amy Bradshaw, 41, told the Harborough Mail today: “We have had the weekend from hell.

Duncan Murray with his vandalised van after the attack on Caxton Street on Saturday evening. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“The people who did this went to town on my silver Chevrolet Cruze.

“They have had a real field day with mine.

“They targeted every panel with this horrible stuff – the handles, all the car doors and the bonnet.

“It’s absolutely devastating,” said Amy, a mum-of-two.

Vehicles daubed with paint stripper on Caxton Street during late Saturday evening. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“Other cars in our street were splashed here and there.

“But they did the whole of my car.

“I only found out that it had been attacked at 7am yesterday morning when a neighbour told me.

“It was so shocking, just horrible.

Vehicles daubed with paint stripper on Caxton Street during late Saturday evening. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“My other half was falling asleep in our living room just feet away from our car outside when this must have happened on Saturday night.

“He didn’t hear a thing.

“I wouldn’t care but I’d moved the car from the other side of the street to outside my front door.

“It’s the worst thing I could have done.

“Bizarrely none of the cars on the other side of our street were touched,” said Amy.

“My car’s seven years old and I only bought it in January – I paid £4,000 for it.

Vehicles daubed with paint stripper on Caxton Street during late Saturday evening. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“I’m a carer – I care for people in their homes.

“I need my car every day of the week to go and look after them for heaven’s sake.

“Our cars are our lifelines.

“My daughter, who’s only 10, is worried now that our car’s going to get vandalised again.

“This happened right outside her bedroom window – and it’s been very stressful for her.

“The people who did this have to be held responsible for their actions.

“This is out and out crime against innocent people like me.

“They should be forced to pay for the damage they have caused.

“We should be safe and secure in our own homes – and our cars should be safe outside our homes.

“It’s just terrible, a total nightmare,” said Amy.

Duncan Murray, 53, who runs a well-known wineshop on Adam and Eve Street, told the Mail: “The whole thing just beggars belief – and it’s left people distraught and in tears.

“I got told at 7.30am yesterday that my VW van shop van had been attacked.

“My paint has been blistered all the way down to the metal.

“I rang the police and they tipped off the fire brigade who came out.

“The fire officers told us the idiots who did this used high-strength industrial paint stripper – and that’s not easy to hold of.

“This was a pre-meditated attack.

“They made no noise and they systematically worked their way up and down the street doing all the odd numbers,” said Duncan, who’s lived on Caxton Street 18 years.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve cause more than £100,000 damage to people’s vehicles in our street altogether.

“I spent most of Sunday trying to sort this out with my insurance company – along with everyone else.

“We were all out there yesterday doing our best to wash our cars – as well as the paths.

“We are very lucky that no-one was injured.

“This paint stripper posed a real threat to children and pets.

“It’s caused so much wasted time and effort – as well as money.

“People were standing out on the street in tears.

“We all need our cars – it’s heartbreaking.

“Why do people do this?

“What the hell do they get out of it?

“But I suppose there are idiots everywhere – including right here in Market Harborough.

“Some people were so angry and so upset they wanted the idiots who did this put in the stocks or given the birch as they used to do in the old days.”

Cllr Phil King, who leads Harborough council, told the Mail: “This attack goes beyond disgusting.

“I wholeheartedly condemn this callous, cowardly criminal behaviour.

“It’s totally reprehensible.

“I feel so sorry for the poor people targeted.

“I can’t imagine how shocked and upset they must be.

“It’s an organised act of wanton criminal damage – and it has to stop,” insisted Cllr King.

“Somebody out there knows who carried out this despicable vandalism in the middle of Market Harborough.

“I’d appeal to them – grass up your mates.

“Tell the police what you know.

“This is entirely unacceptable.

“Now we all have to come together as a community to combat this sort of property destruction and wicked vandalism.”

A Leicestershire Police spokesman said: “Officers from the Harborough and Wigston Neighbourhood Policing Area (NPA) are continuing to carry out enquiries after a number of cars were damaged on a street in the town.

“Yesterday morning (Sunday 25 April) several reports were received that around 20 cars parked in Caxton Road had been vandalised.

“It was reported that a corrosive substance had been poured on them, causing significant damage to the paintwork.

“When officers visited the street, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service also attended as it was reported the substance was also on the pavement.”

A grey Volkswagen T-Cross, blue Volkswagen Passat, white Volkswagen Caddy, silver Ford Fiesta, silver Chevrolet Cruze, blue Citroen C4 and a Toyota CHR were among the vehicles seriously damaged, said police.

“House-to-house enquiries have been undertaken in the local area and anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to come forward.

“Officers are particularly keen to speak to anyone with CCTV or dashcam footage showing a group of people in the area,” said police.

Sgt Pete Jelbert, who’s based at Market Harborough, said: “We believe the cars were damaged late on Saturday night (24 April) or in the early hours of yesterday morning.

“I would ask anyone who lives in or around Caxton Road with CCTV or doorbell cameras to check the footage.

“I am also keen to speak to businesses whose cameras may have picked up anything of note.

“Any information you have – no matter how insignificant you think it may be – could help our investigation.”

Alternatively call 101.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service said that one appliance based in Market Harborough attended the scene yesterday morning after being alerted by police.

Vehicles daubed with paint stripper on Caxton Street during late Saturday evening. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER