POSTERS celebrating inspirational black community champions in Basildon have been daubed with offensive graffiti.

The images in St Martins Square, in Basildon town centre, were put up by the council to recognise people who help to build stronger communities in the borough.

One image showing youth worker Miriam Chalkley was vandalised when the window was smashed.

Another image has been defaced with someone writing “where’s the white people”

onto the picture.

Mrs Chalkley, 33, said she was saddened to see how a minority of people in Basildon view those from different cultures.

She said: “I think the post and window was smashed at the weekend and I heard it was to do with a fight.

“It went up years ago and is about the work I have done and a reflection of what I have done. I used to run a community group offering free performing art training for youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“I now work in the community sector as a youth worker in Basildon with young people.

“I work with people from all different backgrounds and the community is my passion where I love to be working.

“It’s sad the picture was smashed and then a few steps away there’s the really nasty writing on the other image.

It’s just really sad and a reflection of a small number of people in the community.

“It’s racist and it’s so sad to see that’s how some people see the view and think about the images and posters. I am sure it’s only a minority number of people but it seems they do not feel they are represented.”

She said there are many white people who are and have been recognised by the council in similar fashion.

A Basildon Council spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of an incident of graffiti within Basildon town centre.

“Our teams have inspected the area and it will be removed as soon as possible.

“We condemn any acts of vandalism across our borough and have referred this matter to Essex Police.”