VANDALS have torn down signs warning the public to take heed of social distancing.

The banners on the seafront were among 30 put up by Brighton and Hove City Council.

But now those on Hove promenade have been damaged.

Some were ripped from the railings they were attached to and are no longer usable.

It follows scenes where large groups have gathered every evening at Hove Lawns.

Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty spotted the damage. He said: “This sadly is only one of the ways in which the seafront is daily being vandalised at the moment.

“Residents are frequently complaining of a febrile and intimidating atmosphere.

“We did try to warn council and police officers that with the weather warming, lockdown lifting and licensed restaurants and pubs not yet open, that our squares and seafront would bear the brunt of people’s bad behaviour.”

Cllr Mac Cafferty said there are big efforts by volunteers, Cityclean and the police to patrol the beach but Government austerity has had an impact.

He said: “As we have come out of lockdown there has been no clarity, no new resources or powers from Government for the police or council.

“We desperately need Government to finance more police patrols and more enforcement of the rules in our squares and seafront.”

The strictest lockdown measures have been eased in recent weeks.

We are all allowed to meet with up to six people outside, and meet people as part of our social “bubbles”. Government guidance is still to keep two metres apart from those outside of the bubble and while outside.

Brighton and Hove City Council put up the large signs along the seafront between Hove and Saltdean in April. The signs read: “Please stay two metres apart. Save Lives.” They indicated the distance people should keep between themselves and others outside their household.

Councillor Anne Pissaridou said: “These banners were put up to remind people of social distancing and to help make sure people of the seafront stay safe.

“Many people contacted the council to thank us for this approach.

“However, within a few weeks of them being erected, sadly vandals have torn them down at Hove seafront between First and Fourth Avenues to the extent they can no longer be used.

“This is very disappointing and I would urge anyone who sees vandalism like this to report it.

“Damage and vandalism can be reported to seafrontoffice@brighton-hove.gov.uk.”