Just when you thought Wagga’s graffiti epidemic couldn’t get any worse, a local children’s cancer charity has become the latest victim in a series of vandalism attacks.
Business manager for Country Hope Tom Looney said this marked a new low for these criminals.
“We arrived in the morning to find that the front of the building, the side of the building, and all out the back had been hit by graffiti vandals,” Mr Looney said.
“You would think a local kids’ cancer charity would be off limits for these idiots.”
Country Hope provides financial and emotional support to children suffering from cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and their families.
The charity was recently given a much-needed financial boost at the New Year’s Eve Skyworks celebrations, where the community donated a grand total of $3500 to the charity through raffle tickets.
However, Mr Looney is now concerned that the money will be wasted cleaning up the devastation left behind by these vandals.
“If you look at our raffle proceeds from New Year's Eve, and that whole day's work from our volunteers, it's probably going to be used up now cleaning up graffiti,” he said.
“That money could be going to the huge demand we've got for assisting our families and our children – even just this week we've helped families with rent, school fees, medical fees – and that's just this week.”
This incident is the latest in a long series of vandalism attacks that have plagued Wagga this summer.
There is hardly a building, fence, or carport in Tongaboo Lane behind Baylis Street that hasn’t been smeared with spray paint, and residents are begging the council and the police to start cracking down on vandals.
With offences continuing and no active plan in place to stop them, Mr Looney fears that the very light consequences vandals face is only encouraging them.
“Our punishment is far too light – if they get caught doing graffiti, we need to throw the book at them, but I know that they'll be getting probation and warnings and they'll be back, so I'm a great believer in more punishment,” he said.
“There's been quite a lot of anger about graffiti lately, but once people hear that Country Hope has been hit, which support local children in the region – that's about as low as you can go.”
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