Bears of Sheffield charity art trail vandalised with anti-vax stickers

Stickers with QR codes directing people to anti-vaccination propaganda websites have been stuck on the Bears of Sheffield art trail, which is raising money for the city’s children’s hospital.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 12:42 pm

The QR codes on the stickers mean that when somebody takes a picture of one of the bears – which the trail encourages them to do – their phone is directed to a website containing misinformation about Covid vaccines.

They were placed on a few of the bears in the trail earlier this week.

Sunshine, Lollipops, which is the statue by Sheffield Cathedral, and Sheffield Allsorts, outside Sheffield Town Hall, were among several that witnesses have reported as being targeted.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Bears of Sheffield Twitter account alerted people to the problem, posting: “Oh paws! Someone has been sticking QR stickers to our Bears.

“These aren’t from us so please don’t scan them. We’re working beary hard to get them taken off.”

Cheryl Davidson, project manager for the Bears of Sheffield, said: “Unfortunately, earlier this week we received reports on social media that several of our bears in the city centre had QR codes placed on them, which when scanned, directed users to an anti-vaccination website.

The bears of Sheffield have appeared around the city raising money for the Children's Hospital Charity

“Our volunteers removed the stickers as quickly as they could, and these are not in any way representative of the views of The Children’s Hospital Charity or any of our partners involved in the Bears of Sheffield.

“We would like to thank everyone who reported this so swiftly and encourage anyone who notices any other vandalism to the sculptures to reach out on social media or email us at [email protected]”.

The Bears of Sheffield campaign has placed 60 large and 100 small bears around the city. Artists from all over the country – including some of Sheffield’s finest talent – were commissioned to design the bears.

People who visit the bears can read information on how to donate to raise money for The Children’s Charity.

The QR stuck to the bears directed to an anti-vaccination website.

You can also donate online on the Bears of Sheffield website, where you can also choose your favourite.

Funds raised will help build a new cancer ward at the city children’s hospital.