Damage to The Wherry: Sadness and anger after coastal beauty spot in Whitburn blighted by graffiti in second cliff face attack

A beautiful part of the Whitburn coastline has been spoiled by vandals who have sprayed graffiti onto the side of a cliff face.

By Sophie Brownson
Monday, 26th April 2021, 4:56 pm

Rocks near what is known locally as The Wherry was defaced over the weekend, with vandals spraying graffiti symbols onto the side of the cliff.

It is the second attack on our much-loved coastline in less than a year.

In August 2020, the National Trust was called to try and remove graffiti that had been sprayed onto the side of a cliff at The Wherry.

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Vandals have sprayed graffiti onto the side of a cliff face at The Wherry in Whitburn. Photo by John Short.

Residents have condemned the ‘mindless’ vandalism that is destroying a place of beauty.

Whitburn resident John Short, said: “This is a second attack by mindless yobs.

“I can only assume the culprits don’t realise the history attached to The Wherry and the town.

“It is such a shame as it is a place so important historically and is a place of beauty.”

The National Trust said it is unable to clean up the graffiti without causing further damage but said the natural process of sea erosion will eventually remove it.

Eric Wilton, general manager for the National Trust Souter Lighthouse and the Leas, said: “It’s extremely disappointing to see this kind of damage to the cliffs and approaching the cliff face to do it was a serious risk to safety.

"Unfortunately we can’t clean up the graffiti without causing further damage and potentially triggering rock falls.

"The natural process of erosion by the sea will eventually remove it.”

South Tyneside Council said it will reach out to youth workers to look at long-term solutions to graffiti issues along the Whitburn coastline.

A council spokeswoman said: “Graffiti is senseless and disrespectful, and cleaning it up is both costly and labour-intensive.

"It is particularly frustrating that someone has chosen to spoil such a beautiful location along our stunning coastline in this way.

“We work extremely hard to keep our borough clean and tidy and take a proactive approach to removing graffiti wherever possible.

“However, the sensitivity of the rock face and difficulties with access make tackling graffiti in this particular location more problematic.

“We will work alongside the National Trust and will need to give careful consideration to the safety of any clean-up crew and also the removal of the graffiti where conventional methods may not be appropriate at this Site of Special Scientific Interest.

“We will also be engaging our youth workers to look at longer-term solutions to graffiti issues at this location.”

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