Police hunt for 'distinctively clothed' man after Newham Pride flags vandalised

-Credit: (Image: Met Police)
-Credit: (Image: Met Police)

The Metropolitan Police have released an image of a man they'd like to speak to after a series of homophobic hate crimes in Newham. The force was called on Saturday, June 23, after a Pride flag painted on the pavement outside Forest Gate Railway Station was vandalised.

Another report was made on June 26, with a further two flags damaged. All were painted over with red paint.

Police have now released an image of a man they'd like to speak to. Detective Inspector James Rush from the North East area’s Public Protection team, who is leading the investigation, said: “We believe that the same person committed these offences, which we now know took place at between 5am and 5.30am on Sunday, June 23, and at about the same time on Wednesday, June 26.

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“As our investigation continues at pace, we have today issued an image of a person we would like to speak to in connection with the offences. The image was captured on Wednesday, June 26.

“While the person’s face is covered, we hope that someone who lives or works in the area may recognise the individual from their distinctive clothing. If you think you may recognise the person shown in the image – maybe they are a customer at your shop, or live nearby – I would urge you to contact my team.

“I understand providing information to police can be intimidating, but I can reassure the public that any information provided will be handled sensitively. If you would rather provide information anonymously, please contact Crimestoppers.”

After the first instance of vandalism, Newham Council repainted the flags. According to a local activist, they are planning to repaint the flags again.

“Our community is deeply hurt and angered by these hateful actions,” said Reece Jackson, Forest Gate resident and activist. “The Pride flags are a symbol of love, acceptance, and inclusivity. These repeated acts of vandalism are not just attacks on our flags but on the very values they represent.”

No arrests have been made and enquiries continue. Anyone with information can contact police by calling 101 or visiting www.met.police.uk, quoting reference 2433/23Jun. Alternatively, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.

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