ANTI-LOCKDOWN graffiti has been scrawled on billboards and banners.

The words “End the unlawful lockdown, save our rights” were spotted on an empty billboard in Kingsway, Hove, near Hove Lawns.

The same billboard has the message “Covid-19 is not the threat, save life not lives” written across it in black marker pen.

Elsewhere on the seafront, the word “Freedom” has been scrawled on a Brighton and Hove City Council banner, which reminds the public to stay two metres apart from each other when they are out during daily exercise.

Councillor for Wish ward Robert Nemeth said the graffiti was “nonsensical”.

He said: “I think it’s important to maturely question any situation where rights are removed but quite frankly we could do without property being vandalised at this time.

“The wording in this instance is nonsensical as clearly Covid-19 is the threat, as many mourning loved ones know better than anyone.”

Gary Wilkinson, councillor for Central Hove ward, said: “This message on the billboard is symptomatic of a frustration for an exit strategy, an end to lockdown and a return to a predictable future. But it is far to simplistic. There will be no quick exit from the pandemic and no clear and logical pathway leading to a return to normal life. We are living with a threat that will not be easily banished.

“Our future may mean a period of trial and error, with occasional returns to lockdown and some permanent changes to how we live and work.”

Cllr Wilkinson said that although it “may be wise for lockdown to continue for months”, this is “probably not an option”.

He said: “People are becoming restless and some are flouting Government guidance. I understand that individuals who have been cooped up for weeks, and businesses facing bankruptcy want a way to return to some kind of normality.

“I hope we can emerge from this as a changed country, with different priorities and new ways of working and interacting.”

A council spokeswoman said the graffiti has been reported to Cityclean to be removed.

She said: “This vandalism is misleading and unhelpful to say the least.

“Thankfully most people in Brighton and Hove are clearly behind the monumental effort across the country to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus and are complying with Government guidelines to stay at home, however constraining this may be.

“It’s fair to say the message is highly offensive to the thousands of NHS staff who are putting their lives on the line to protect and care for us right now.”

It comes after Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner said Hove Lawns was among the “hotspot” areas police have identified where people are regularly flouting social distancing rules. On Saturday, 45 people were fined for travelling to coastal spots including Brighton, Birling Gap and Seven Sisters.