A CAMPAIGN team has been left devastated after its promotional posters were wrongfully removed from private property by council workers.

The team representing Lib Dem Stanway candidate Lesley Scott-Boutell in the upcoming Essex County Council elections say all their posters and banners were taken down.

A supporter saw an Essex Highways operative remove a banner from outside her home.

Campaign manager Jon Sheller said: “On Monday, we started to be contacted by householders supportive of Lesley from about 11am through to 1pm.

“It appeared every single poster and banner had been ripped down.

Mr Sheller said two banners were taken, as well as 15 to 20 large posters.

“I could barely believe it,” he said.

“I’m extremely disappointed this is what local democracy has come to.”

The team has reported the matter to the police after it found three posters had been taken from private property.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Taken: A poster in support of the Lib Dem candidateTaken: A poster in support of the Lib Dem candidate

An Essex County Council spokesman said it does not permit “unauthorised” posters to be placed on the highway by law.

He added: “The Highway Authority received several requests for the removal of unauthorised signing from the Stanway area.

“In addressing these requests, we have become aware Essex Highways staff also removed a number of signs from private boundary fences.

“Staff removed these posters due to concerns they were in locations which could cause a distraction to drivers.

"While staff were acting with the best of intentions, these posters should not have been removed and we apologise.”

The council said it would arrange the return of the wrongfully removed items.

Paul Dundas, Conservative group leader on Colchester Council, said: “We have been made aware various election boards and banners have been removed by various statutory bodies in Stanway.

“On social media there have been some accusations that Conservatives or activists did this.

“We would like to state categorically that this is untrue, without any foundation or evidence.”

Mr Dundas said two Conservative signs had also been removed.

  • Also standing for election in the ward are Kevin Bentley (Con), Mike Lilley (Lab) and John McArthur (Green).