Men arrested over "disgusting" stickers posted across Sheffield that link migration with coronavirus pandemic
Two men in their 20s have been arrested by South Yorkshire Police in connection with stickers posted across Sheffield that link migration with the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the “disgusting” stickers read: “Open border, virus disorder” and “pubs closed, borders open.”
They use the logo of the far right Hundred-Handers group – which is known for printing racist messages and sticking them around the UK and other countries. The messages linking covid-19 with migration were also found in other cities including York, Leeds and Hull.
Sheffield residents say they saw them on lamp posts, bins, bollards and bus stop signs around Granville Road, the Cholera Monument Park, Fargate, Crucible Theatre, Paternoster Row, the train station and near Norfolk Heritage Park.
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: "Police have arrested two men in connection with reports of racist stickers in the Norfolk Park area.
"On 13 April, officers were alerted to reports of racist stickers being placed around Norfolk Park.
"Two men, aged 20 and 22-years-old, have been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences. They have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.
"An investigation is ongoing."
Alex Gwynne, who spotted some and asked neighbours to help remove them, said: “Using this pandemic to spread racism and hatred is unacceptable.”
Councillor Ben Miskell, who represents the Park and Arbourthorne area, said it was dangerous and reported it to South Yorkshire Police as a hate crime. He is now working with the council to get the racist stickers removed urgently.
He said: “This is absolutely disgusting and comes at a time where our diverse community is busy working together to tackle the virus.
“This sort of behaviour can damage community cohesion and relationships across the city. We’re all working together to try to combat the virus.
“We have got people from all sorts of different backgrounds working in hospitals, care and community groups that are coming together to help elderly neighbours – regardless of the colour of their skin or their origin in the world.
“These sorts of things are meant to just divide us rather than bring us together and capitalise on something awful that is happening in Britain for some really sinister aim.”