'Young, gifted and dead' campaign posters defaced

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The Independent Online

Controversial posters showing a murdered black gunman under the words "Young, Gifted & Dead" have had to be removed after being whitewashed by vandals.

Controversial posters showing a murdered black gunman under the words "Young, Gifted & Dead" have had to be removed after being whitewashed by vandals.

The posters formed part of the "Not Another Drop" campaign aimed at reducing gun violence in Harlesden, north-west London, which has been plagued by warring drug gangs in the past two years.

The campaign is due to be launched tonight by the Home Office minister Paul Boateng and Sir John Stevens, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. The posters, which showed a young black man lying in a pool of blood with a gun near his hand, proved offensive to some people and about 30 - half the total - were covered in white adhesive paint.

A police spokesman said all the posters were taken down last week because of the vandalism and after families of some of the shooting victims made complaints. "A number of poster sites suffered criminal damage."

Harlesden has one of the highest rates of gun crime in Britain, with eight people being murdered and 12 wounded since 1999. Many of the shootings have taken place in the street.

A spokesman for the London Borough of Brent said that despite the removal of the posters the campaign against gun crime would continue.

Paul Daisley, the council's deputy leader, said: "Harlesden's reputation has been tarnished thanks to the evil activities of a handful of people. The time has come for us all to take a stand against these gangsters and the menace they have brought to our streets." At the launch of the poster campaign two weeks ago, June Graham of the Harlesden-based support group Mothers Against Death said: "The posters are very graphic and I hope the image will shock people into realising that the young man lying in a pool of blood could be your son, brother or friend."

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