Vandals recently defaced an ancient chalk design, known as the Uffington White Horse, by spray painting part of it purple.
The figure, on what is now called White Horse Hill in England’s Oxfordshire county, dates to the Bronze Age and is a sequence of deep trenches filled with crushed white chalk. When viewed from a distance, the trenches form what looks like a horse, although the representation has been debated in the past.
The site is owned and managed by the National Trust, a British conservation organization for places of historic interest or natural beauty.
Police were called to the site on Thursday after the Trust discovered the head and eye of the horse had been painted purple. The only evidence recovered from the scene was a banner that said “fathers 4 justice stop the secret family courts.”
New Fathers 4 Justice, a father’s rights organization, was questioned, but denied any part in the crime. “Fathers have started using the name for their own protest, but we don’t condone vandalism, it’s not our style,” said a spokesman for the group. “They should’ve picked a legitimate target like a courthouse, not an historic monument which should be protected for our children. This is criminal damage and nothing’s going to be achieved by that,” said another.
Volunteers had worked to re-chalk the monument just one week before the vandalism, as part of a community event.
“We are appalled by this act of mindless vandalism to one of the country’s most famous ancient monuments,” said Richard Henderson, Oxfordshire’s general manager within the National Trust.
The organization, with the aid of police, has been working to cover up the paint. “The monument has been pretty much restored and is back to how it should look,” said Sgt. Steve Clark. “This was a mindless act of criminal damage on an ancient monument and I would urge anyone with information about the incident to come forward and speak to us as soon as possible.”