Bookmaker Stan James Could be Charged With Crime Over Defacing of Heritage Site

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
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Bookmaker Stan James Could be Charged With Crime Over Defacing of Heritage Site

The popular British bookmaker Stan James was reported to authorities for stenciled graffiti advertising the betting firm was found on the Roman walls of Chester, a Heritage site that has existed since 40 AD.

The company added the graffiti ahead of this weekend’s Chester Horse Racing Festival.  The Chester council has accused Stan James of a “Heritage Crime”.

"We've reported the graffiti to the police as we regard it as a heritage crime," a spokeswoman for Cheshire West and Chester council said. "The footway where the markings are is directly adjacent to the walls, which are a scheduled ancient monument and the footway forms part of the walls. Therefore it is graffiti on a scheduled ancient monument.

"We reported it to the police when we became aware of it and we are arranging for a stonemason to remove it as soon as possible."

A company rep insists the graffiti is not permanent and will wash away in a matter of days.

“The process of putting the branding on the pavement is known as 'clean graffiti'. A metal stencil is placed on the ground and the pavement is 'cleaned' with a pressure wash, made of water and washing up liquid, removing dirt from within the stencil." Stan James Spokesman, Garry McGibbon said.

“Once the stencil is removed, it leaves the 'image' that you see on the pavement. There will be no lasting damage/marking to the stone at all. In fact, the pavement is likely to be dirty again within a couple of weeks so the branding completely disappears.  We can assure the people of Chester that no lasting damage has been done to any part of the city walls, flagstones or otherwise, as a result of our sponsorship." He further explained to the press.

“We have done this clean graffiti to support our sponsorship of the prestigious Chester Cup, and we have indeed used clean graffiti in Chester for the past two years while supporting this horse race. Because we have never had any negative response in the past we have utilized clean graffiti again this year on the pavements near the racecourse."

“We would apologize if certain quarters feel that better judgment could have been used in terms of location, but would again stress that there is no damage to any part of the city, and there is no repair work necessary.” he ended. 

It is doubtful the firm will be charged with any crime but will likely receive a stern warning.

A Cheshire police spokesman said: "We're trying to establish what crime, if any, has been committed."

- Jagajeet Chiba,

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