Banner thieves have Cobham hopping mad
Cobham residents believe a “banner thief” is on the loose, after several were stolen from fences over the past few months.
A variety of banners advertising the Alpha course at St Andrew’s Church and the monthly farmers’ market have been repeatedly removed.
Reverend Robert Jenkins of St Andrew’s Church said: “It is very worrying that Cobham has become a village where community groups cannot promote their events using legally erected banners because as soon as they are put up they are being stolen.
“The theft of our four banners has cost our church hundreds of pounds and lost publicity for our events.”
A spokesman for Surrey County Council said: “It is illegal to display banners on the highway without our permission as the local highway authority.
“This is to prevent, as far as possible, injury to road-users and damage to property. It is also a way of minimising clutter that can spoil the local environment.
“We had not been approached for permission to put these banners up and were not responsible for their removal, though we would have taken them down if we had known about them.”
The stolen banners were positioned opposite Sainsbury’s garage in Portsmouth Road, attached to the fence at the Leg O’Mutton and at Riverhill.
Further measures to the secure the banners have been taken, including using padlocks and chains, but the thieves have not been deterred.
David Tipping, vice-chairman of Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust, said: “Having been a resident since 1975 and put a lot of time together with others to establish new activities such as the Cobham Farmers’ Market, I find it very sad and disappointing that there is someone who wishes to hinder the success of what is an active and vibrant community.”
A spokesman for Elmbridge Council said: “We are not aware of these banners disappearing and our Environmental Care team haven't removed them.
“If we were going to remove them, we would certainly make the owners aware first.”