A Nazi symbol has been spray-painted on a busy route into Newcastle.
Vandals have painted the swastika along part of the road included in the city centre's new Clean Air Zone.
The graffiti, at the side of the Great North Road, also includes a message reading "F*** the clean air zone".
Council bosses have condemned the offensive vandalism and said it “in no way reflects" the values of the city and those who live there.
It will now be removed.
The message was spotted on Wednesday by drivers coming into the north end of the city centre, close to the Hancock Museum and Newcastle Civic Centre.
The Clean Air Zone came into force on Monday 30 January. The pollution toll imposes daily charges on less environmentally friendly vehicle s in an effort to cut illegal levels of air pollution.
Newcastle City Council said they will act quickly to remove the offensive graffiti.
A spokesperson for Newcastle City Council said: “We do not tolerate offensive graffiti and we have made immediate arrangements for this to be removed as quickly as possible.
“The symbolism used in this act of vandalism in no way reflects our values as a city or the values of those who live here.
“We will always take swift action to remove offensive graffiti and would encourage people to report any such instances of this by contacting our Envirocall service on 0191 278 7878 or by visiting our website.”
The introduction of the Clean Air Zone means that drivers of older buses, taxis, lorries, and coaches that do not meet certain environmental standards must pay daily tolls of either £50 or £12.50 to come into or through the city centre.
There are also charges of £12.50 planned for older vans from this July, but all private cars are exempt.
The charging zone has been imposed in response to a Government order to slash emissions levels in certain hotspots, with poor air quality having been linked to more than 300 deaths on Tyneside every year.
However, the scheme has come in for criticism from taxi drivers and affected businesses – with major concerns having been raised about the severe financial impact on people who have to pay a toll, at a time of economic crisis.
You can check if your vehicle is compliant or not by entering your registration number on the government website.
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