News

Vandals tag Benalla Grocer, gardens in string of attacks

By Meg Saultry

In a string of attacks, vandals graffitied offensive tags on the front wall of Benalla Grocer, as well as the Benalla Rose Gardens’ cricket stand and toilet blocks overnight on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

On the corner of Waller and Clarke Sts, the grocer was tagged overnight Wednesday, while the gardens were hit repeatedly on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Constable Briggs of Benalla Police told The Ensign the two cases appeared to be linked.

“Just the wording that’s been used, the colour and the style,” she said.

Constable Briggs said the station had no solid leads as of yet, but confirmed the culprits had left something behind at one of the scenes.

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With the tagging referencing neighbouring city Wangaratta, Constable Briggs said police were looking at all possible angles and leads.

“Being in Benalla, the investigation is primarily focused here, but we have been in touch with the Wangaratta Police,” she said.

“We do share information if something similar happens there.”

Disappointing: Benalla Grocer was tagged overnight Wednesday in what looks to be the first of a string of similar cases.

As she scrubbed through video footage of the premises early Thursday morning, Benalla Grocer assistant manager Candy Berry said the offensive nature of the graffiti was especially disappointing.

“They’ve come and done it where everyone can see,” Ms Berry said.

“The police happened to be driving past before we even got a chance to ring them.

“They are already on to it, too, and hopefully we have something to give them.”

With video footage available, Ms Berry was hopeful but realistic in the chances of finding the culprits. 

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“Last time (this happened) we couldn’t see them, they were all covered up,” she said.

In just over a 12-month period, Ms Berry said this was “about the third or fourth” time vandals had targeted the business.

“It’s really disappointing and pretty frustrating,” she said.

“It’s very hard to remove, plus a cost you don’t need and time you don’t have to clean it.”

Benalla Council workers were also at the gardens trying to remove the graffiti as quickly as possible.

● Benalla Police are appealing to anyone in the community who may have information regarding these events to phone the Benalla Police Station on (03) 5760 0200.