Police are not treating vandalism of Marcus Rashford mural as racially motivated

Marcus Rashford mural
Marcus Rashford mural Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

Police investigating the vandalism of a Marcus Rashford mural in south Manchester say the graffiti is “not believed to be of a racial nature”.Words were sprayed across the artwork, on the wall of The Coffee House Cafe in Withington, after England's Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy on Sunday 11 July.The lettering, daubed in blue paint, was difficult to make out over the black and white image of the Manchester United forward.Greater Manchester Police said officers were called to the scene at around 2.50am on Monday 12 July to reports of “racially-aggravated damage of a mural on Copson Street inWithington”.In a statement GMP said: “The damage was removed and the mural was restored by its artist in the following days, as an investigation was launched by detectives from our City of Manchester South division.“While the content of the vandalism is not believed to be of a racial nature, officers are keeping an open mind as to the motive behind the defacing the artwork.

“No arrests have been made and we continue to appeal to members of the public for any information they may have from Sunday night into Monday morning.”Officers are analysing CCTV and forensic evidence from the spray paint used but no arrests have been made.Superintendent Richard Timson, district commander for GMP's City of Manchester division, said officers were “left appalled” by the damage to the mural.He said: “On Monday morning when we saw the damage done to the mural in Withington we were all left appalled, and we stand with the rest of the community whose solidarity against this vile abuse ever since has really shown the best of our city.“The person responsible for this knows who they are and we believe there will be others who also suspect the identity of this offender, and I therefore urge anyone with such information to get in touch to help progress our enquiries at speed.”Rashford was one of three England players who missed their penaltieas England lost a shoot-out 3-2 after drawing the game 1-1.The United star and his teammates Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho all suffered online abuse afterwards.In the hours that followed street artist Akse - who created the work to celebrate Rashford's campaigning work on school dinners -re-sprayed and repaired the wall.In recent days it has been almost completely filled with notes, messages, poems, shirts, scarves, flags, and handwritten messages of support and love for Rashford.Before moving to Wythenshawe, Rashford lived with his mum Mel and four siblings in both Withington and Fallowfield.