VANDALS have targeted a popular mural in Newport depicting the Pill carnival queen and commemorating a retired police officer.

The artwork, by Andy O’Rourke, was painted in July on Temple Street.

It depicts a retired police officer, PC Val, who was a community police officer of more than 30 years, as well as Pill carnival queen Alexia Cuthbert, and the Newport Transporter Bridge. There are also Jamaican dancers and flags from a costume the artist worked on in 2015 in a primary school in the old library.  

Mr O’Rourke was approached by the police and council to create a mural commemorating PC Val’s time as an officer, and turned it into a stunning piece of artwork for the whole community to enjoy.

However, this week vandals appear to have thrown a tin of white paint over the mural.

“I saw it and my heart sank,” said Mr O’Rourke. “I’ve not been out to look at it. I can’t face it at the moment.

“There’s a protective glaze on it to keep it protected that is designed to be cleaned, but it’s hard to know if that will work.

“I feel bad for the shopkeeper who has been really generous and gave us this wall. I fear people will be less inclined to be so generous in the future, which would be a real shame.”

The National Wales: It appears a tin of white paint was thrown across the mural.It appears a tin of white paint was thrown across the mural.

Mr O’Rourke said it’s not the first time the mural has been targeted by vandals, after an incident when he was creating it.

“Half way through I turned up one morning and there was a spray paint right the way through the mural, about a seven-metre line going right through it,” he said, adding that an abusive message directed at the carnival queen was sprayed onto the mural.

The National Wales: The mural on Temple Street in Pill has been vandalised.The mural on Temple Street in Pill has been vandalised.

“Ninety-nine per cent of people were really enthusiastic and loved it. But a few people had a problem with it, and having the police on it, for example.

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“99 per cent of people were thoroughly positive and loved that it was bringing colour and celebrating multiculturalism in Pill.

“I don’t understand why it has been so contentious.

“This is not a random act. Someone has gone out there with a tin of white paint.

“It would be a shame if images all had to be sanitised so that they don’t offend even the vocal minority.”

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