South Shields garden firm boss fears his business is being targeted

Marc Thompkins vandalised business signs on Ocean Road
Marc Thompkins vandalised business signs on Ocean Road

The owner of a garden landscaping business says his business is being put at risk by vandals who are repeatedly damaging his advertising signs.

Marc Thompkins launched Jet Stream Landscape Gardening and Gardening Maintenance two years ago.

Garden Restoration's Darren Benstead with one of his two signs damaged in an arson attack.

Garden Restoration's Darren Benstead with one of his two signs damaged in an arson attack.

In a bid to boost trade and let people know he was open for business he put up advertising signs in various places in South Tyneside - including Ocean Road, Frederick Street and close to the Port of Tyne and Middlefields.

However, over the past year, he has seen a number of his signs being vandalised.

Mr Thompkins is the second landscape gardener in the borough to be hit by vandalism in recent months.

In July Darren Benstead - of Garden Restoration - found that two road trailers he had fitted with advertising boards had been damaged in an arson attack.

It is like someone is out there desperate to ruin my business.

Marc Thompkins

One was in Commercial Road, South Shields, while a second was placed in Swinburne Street in Jarrow.

Both were destroyed in the arson attacks - prompting Mr Benstead to fear his business is being targeted.

Damage to Mr Thompkins’ signs range from contact numbers being scratched out to the signs being spraypainted and slashed.

Mr Thompkin, from South Shields, said: “This has been going on for about a year now, ever since I set the business up.

“At first I just let it go as it was just the odd sign, but now more and more of them are getting damaged.

“It is like someone is out there desperate to ruin my business.”

He added: “I have signs around South Shields, opposite the magistrates court in South Shields, on Ocean Road, near Middlefields.

“They and have all been damaged. The one in Ocean Road, someone has spraypainted over it while the one in Frederick Street was slashed.

“Up until now I never made a big deal of it, but it is becoming more and more common now.”

He added: “It’s not just the cost of the signs that I’m losing out on, but it’s the loss of customers.

“A lot of the calls come from people who have seen the signs so they do generate business.

“I feel as though I am being targeted and have reported the matter to the police.”