'Vile' van artwork is investigated as potential hate crime

Pick-up truck with ‘vile’ artwork of a kidnapped woman tied up on the back is investigated by police as a potential hate crime

  • Police launch probe of ‘vile’ truck vinyl that was spotted in Trowse, near Norwich
  • A woman is depicted being tied up, blindfolded and bound as if being kidnapped 
  • Norfolk Police are investigating a potential hate crime after huge online backlash

A police investigation has been launched after a pick-up truck was spotted with a ‘vile’ image of a kidnapped woman on its tail gate.

Motorists did a double take and were horrified to see the artwork portraying an apparently abducted blonde woman lying down while tied up in the rear of the vehicle.

The vehicle was reported to police after being spotted at traffic lights on the junction of the A47 and A146 roads at Trowse, near Norwich, Norfolk.

Norfolk Police say the incident is being investigated as a potential hate crime.

A spokesperson for the force said: ‘A woman reported seeing a blue pick-up truck with vinyl printed on the back of the truck showing a woman being tied up, blindfolded, bound as if being kidnapped. Enquiries are ongoing.’

The ‘vile’ vinyl of a woman appearing to be kidnapped was spotted on the junction of the A47 and A146 roads at Trowse, near Norwich

The picture of the truck created outrage when it was shared by graphic designer Sophia Forte on the Facebook group ‘Reclaim These Streets Norwich’.

She said on a message with the picture: ‘This was spotted in Norwich. Not okay to normalise violence against women, then people wonder why we have so many issues with it.’

Miss Forte added: ‘I’m a graphic designer and from a designer’s perspective my job is to educate and inspire and it is sickening visually to think that someone has designed this and in my opinion, it is normalising violence, abuse, threat and control over women.

‘It makes me sad that someone that is a designer has abused their power to create something like this. We need to calm people and stand up, not alarm.’

Norfolk Police say they are investigating a potential hate crime, as pictures of the truck emerged online and prompted a huge backlash

Other Facebook users left messages condemning the image as ‘horrifying’ and ‘vile’.

One said: ‘I have never before seen anything like this on a vehicle. Am shocked. 

‘It is beyond disgraceful. I really hope someone reported the driver and that there is something that can be done about it.’

Another added: ‘What the f*** is wrong with people? How can that ever be funny?’

Community campaigner Jasmine Reeves described the pick up truck as ‘disturbing’.

She said: ‘This is not okay. I do not want to see it and attempt to explain it to my five and ten-year-old boys. It’s no wonder that women do not feel safe in this world.’

Personal trainer James Hellewell of Leeds, West Yorkshire, faced fury in 2014 when he had a similar sticker of a tied up woman on the back of his truck.

He insisted he had only put it on as a joke and he removed it after being warned by police that he could be charged with a public order offence if he continued to display it.

A sign company which put a similar vinyl wrap on the back of an employee’s truck in Waco, Texas, in 2013 removed it after a backlash.

The company ended up apologising and making a donation of $2,500 to the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children in Waco.

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