Belfast Telegraph

Bored teens blamed for obscene graffiti spree in Co Down village

By Christopher Woodhouse

Bored teenagers are believed to be behind a recent spree of spray-painted pictures of male private parts popping up in a Co Down village.

A series of male organs have appeared on a bin, lampposts, an off-licence windowsill and even a cricket pavilion in Saintfield in recent weeks.

The sudden eruption of phallic graffiti came to light in a letter from bemused resident Cormac Mac Cathmhaoil published in The Irish Times yesterday.

"As predictable as birds migrating with the seasons, this summer has once again brought about the bizarre trend of bored teenagers spray-painting 'the male organ' on a variety of walls, lampposts and bins in towns and villages across the country," he wrote.

Mr Mac Cathmhaoil told the Belfast Telegraph: "It's not all over the show, it's an oddity. It's a bit weird and ideally you'd like it cleaned up, the point of the letter is that you don't want it there."

One example has been painted on a council bin near the entrance to the graveyard on Comber Street, captioned with the word: "D***".

"You couldn't miss it if you were walking along the street, it has only been there a couple of days. I don't know how long the one in the concrete by the cricket pavilion has been there," said Cormac.

He added: "The one on the off-licence has been there for a few weeks.

"The local development association have done a lot of cleaning in the village in the last few days but they didn't get that."

In his letter, Cormac critiqued one particularly poor effort by the anonymous artist or artists.

"Their artistic abilities vary, but the theme remains constant," he wrote. "Apparently unconvinced by the clarity of his image and as such he felt obliged to caption the masterpiece, telling those unfamiliar with decoding abstract art what he had produced."

Cormac concluded in his letter: "Unlike many, I do not find the phenomenon shocking or vulgar, merely perplexing. Picture the scene - a 14-year-old boy bored off his head has a brainwave. Procure a spray-can and draw said appendage on an item of street furniture. The mind boggles." Martyn Todd, chair of the Saintfield Development Association, said such incidents were a hazard of life today. "In every small town there are places that youths gather and in those areas you will find graffiti and among it will be phallic graffiti; but it won't stop the team carrying on with their good work," he said.

"The association is disappointed when anyone does anything to detract from the good image of Saintfield, whether it be pulling out flowers, upturning a planter or graffiti."

He added that although most of the graffiti was on private property the Saintfield in Bloom committee will generally put right any minor damage they find.

Down District DUP councillor William Walker called for anyone with information to report the vandals to the police urgently. "Saintfield, over the last few years, has come on leaps and bounds. The Saintfield Development Association has done a lot of good work with the likes of Ulster In Bloom," he said. "Their own committee actually goes out on a regular basis to do litter picks etc, and the last thing the good people of Saintfield want is some graffiti artist defacing the place."

He added: "Anyone who has any information about it should make it available to the police because we need to nip this in the bud."

  • Has any graffiti caught YOUR eye? If there's any worth highlighting in your area, email us at

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph