A RED phone box which was lovingly restored by an artist has been destroyed for a second time.

Vandals smashed the glass on the historic phone box, in Alexandra Street, Southend, and ripped out a life sized painting of superstar David Bowie.

After reading in the Echo that the phone box had been filled with litter, artist John Bulley decided to use his creative skills to remedy the situation.

His painting of Bowie character Ziggy Stardust, as he appeared on his iconic album, brightened up the old box and covered three broken window panes.

Mr Bulley has refused to be deterred by the vandals, and has vowed to redo the artwork.

He said: “They’ve actually trashed it. They’ve broken all the glass. I suspect that they are Justin Bieber fans and don’t like Bowie.

“What they have done is very violent. It looks pretty bad. I’m going to do it again and repair it, that’s how relentless I am.”

Barbara Hunter, of Capel Terrace, Southend, witnessed the phone box being vandalised once again.

The 84-year-old said: “It was about midnight or so on Sunday. They were smashing the glass that has just been put in and all the art. They ripped the art work out.

“It had been done beautifully and people were coming and taking photos. It’s a shame because it was really lovely. People have been admiring it and I thought thank god after all this time as for years it has been full of rubbish.

“It was a conservation area and it ruined it now again.”

The Echo told last month how councillors Cheryl Nevin and Anne Jones spent their spare time cleaning out the phone box, managing to fill an entire bin bag with used scratch cards which they found inside.

They also found cigarette ends and a large block of wood, which appeared to have been used to knock through a pane of perspex in the door.

Mrs Jones said: “It’s very sad. I’m sure we could replace it with something else. The corner of the street is notorious for drug dealing. We need to protect not just our assets, we need to protect the people.

“It’s something we really need to be addressing and police need to take it seriously when we report it.

“We might see the vandalism of the post box as low level crime but actually it’s part of a much bigger situation. It was a wonderful, uplifting part of the area. It’s such a shame.”