By Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Reporter
A man who tried to steal a road block sign in Lambeth has been slapped with a £300 fine after a council crackdown on vandalism.
Clinton Forbes was charged with criminal damage, going equipped to steal, and possession of Class A drugs on August 1.
The 54-year-old pleaded guilty to the charges at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on August 2, where he was handed the fine.
Another man in his 20s was caught red-handed by police officers spray painting a sign in the same low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) on July 31, just after 1am. He was taken to the police station and fined.
The Ferndale LTN between Brixton and Clapham is one of several sets of road closures introduced across the borough in the wake of the pandemic to promote active travel.
The Government-funded schemes also aimed to help facilitate social distancing.
But vandals opposed to the zones have been targeting signs, planters, and cameras enforcing the schemes across the borough.
Lambeth increased patrols and CCTV to crack down on the problem, as well as asked police to make extra visits to the low traffic zones.
Announcing the news of the arrests, Cllr Danny Adilypour, joint cabinet member for sustainable transport, said: “We are taking a zero-tolerance approach to this vandalism and any associated anti-social behaviour, including verbal abuse of staff maintaining these sites.
“We will press charges against any individual involved in these criminal acts where we have enough evidence and we will publicly name and shame anyone found guilty.
“We have been clear throughout that people are entitled to express their views over our Low Traffic Neighbourhood trials, but there is no excuse for acts of criminal vandalism.”
The cabinet member added that the vandalism “puts residents at risk” and is “not an effective way to engage with the council or fellow residents”.
He said: “So I am glad that these arrests have been made, and we will continue to monitor the borough’s low traffic neighbourhoods.”
A spokeswoman for the Met Police said: “On Saturday, July 31 officers on patrol in Ferndale Road at approximately 1.15am arrested a man on suspicion of criminal damage after he was seen spray painting a sign.
“The man, aged in his 20s, was taken to a police station and was issued with a fixed penalty notice.
“Clinton Forbes, 54, was charged on Sunday, August 1 with criminal damage, going equipped to steal and possession of class A drugs.
“He appeared in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday, August 2 where he pleaded guilty to the charges and was given a fine of £300 plus costs.”