Spoof signs cause town confusion

GALLERY Has the world gone mad?Ipswich has been bamboozled by an art project, provoking a reaction that would make controversial street artist Banksy proud.

HAS the world gone mad?

Ipswich has been bamboozled by an art project, provoking a reaction that would make controversial street artist Banksy proud.

When Natalie Roberts was told to leave the Cornhill for wearing a hoodie by two people she believed to be police officers, she didn't know what was going on.

The order to move on was apparently prompted by sign on a lamppost, stating 'No Hoodies-Max £50 fine'. But it turns out this was one of a series of signs plastered across town as part of the Ip-Art Festival.

The signs, produced by artist James Fletcher and a group of youngsters from Stone Lodge Youth Centre in Chantry, has caused quite a stir among members of the public and businesses, with some failing to see the funny side.

Mr Fletcher, 38, a mixed media visual artist who lives in Felixstowe, said: “I have heard some shopkeepers were angry about the sign that says 'no shopping between 1am and 6am'.

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“The signs are so sarcastic. I find it very amusing that someone seemed to take it seriously but in a way, that's exactly the reaction I was looking for. Whatever the style of art, it is meant to try to cause some reaction.”

Miss Roberts, of Church Road, Chelmondiston, arrived early for work on Wednesday morningand so sat on a bench when she was approached by the uniformed pair.

She said: “They glanced at the sign and then at me and said 'you had better move on'. I had not even seen the sign before. I couldn't believe it.

“I'm older than I look but I was wearing a hooded top to be warm. I didn't even have the hood up. It is ridiculous to be victimised because you have a certain type of clothing.”

The art project, entitled Visual Orders, is inspired by the work of the famous graffiti artist Banksy and is designed to examine the way society views street signage.

Mr Fletcher added: “The 14-year-olds and 16-year-olds I worked with on this wanted some reaction. I have seen people taking pictures of the signs and some people instantly realise it is a joke and some don't. It's getting people to laugh at themselves. Has the world really gone mad that someone has taken this to be true?”

The signs were put up at the start of the festival on June 28 and will remain up until it finishes on Sunday.

What do you think of this style of art? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Chief Inspector Bruce Robinson, district commander for Ipswich, said: “We have carried out extensive research (including viewing CCTV) regarding this alleged incident and have been unable to establish that police/police staff were in the area of the Cornhill at the said time.

“The sign described is not enforceable. Officers are kept regularly updated with current legislation. There is no current legislation enabling us to move people on unless they are acting irresponsibly/anti-socially with alcohol (for example designated public places order which is in place in Ipswich).

“It is extremely unlikely that police would attempt to enforce legislation that is not in place.

“Suffolk Constabulary is a non-discriminatory organisation and would not look to move a person on because of their clothing (unless it was inappropriate or offensive).

“We interact positively with all members of our community regardless of who they are or what they wear. I would encourage the female concerned to contact us so this incident can be explored fully.”

Designated Smoking Area

Designated Picnic Area

No Talking - Quiet Area

No Shopping Between 1am and 6am

Pedestrian Congestion - No Stopping

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