September 28th, 2016

Road signs shot-up across South Warwickshire

Updated: 3:59 pm, May 07, 2015

ROAD signs in the district are peppered with bullet holes but no one seems to know anything about it.

Matt Seiber – who has been investigating the phenomenon around the UK for the past five years, and has set up a website and written a book on the subject – says south Warwickshire is one of the most targeted regions in the country.

Matt, who as a corporate trainer travels the country giving specialist driving courses, said: “I investigate and record roadside gun crime. An aspect that is officially unseen, unheard of, unchallenged and unrecorded.

“Examples of illegal experimenting with firearms and the intimidating symbolism that remains, exist throughout the UK.

“I’m not campaigning, I just find it fascinating that’s it’s all around yet nobody seems to know anything about it.”

Matt did however have his own terrifying first hand experience of roadside shooting while in Spain in 1975.

He explained: “As a young student hitch-hiking around Europe I stumbled into the path of three gunmen test firing hand guns on a remote road north of Madrid.

“When they very deliberately turned their attention towards me it was distance, poor shooting and luck that enabled me to escape unhurt.”

Matt first noticed evidence of shot up signs on British soil while serving as a Royal Marine in Northern Ireland in the 1980s.

And in 2008 he found three locations in South Yorkshire in a single day which sparked his fascination and led him to to set up the website Gunfire Graffiti and record just how common such shootings were.

Matt has spoken with local highway authorities and police but no one has acknowledged the extent of the damaged signs.

Highways chiefs around the country have simply told him contractors replace damaged signs, while police have even gone as far as to blame youngsters with catapults for the damage.

“I have got no reaction whatsoever from local authorities or police – just a pregnant pause,” said Matt, who himself has enjoyed responsible sports shooting since the 1960s.

“I don’t know who the perpetrators are, or if they are using legal or illegal guns.

“What I do know is these are not isolated or one off incidents, and the damage is certainly not caused by airguns but firearms with real bullets.”

Matt says there have been examples of people getting caught in the cross-fire and injured, and calculated that a bullet shot through a sign near Bishops Tachbrook would have had the power to travel a further mile and still kill.

Matt has his own theories as to why road signs are used for target practise.

“Road signs and roadside structures are secure, fixed features offering large easily acquired target areas. The steel/alloy construction of road signs provide hard resistance and the penetrative force of bullets and shot can be easily assessed.

“There is a noticeable fascination to the result of close range shotgun blast. A large proportion of weapon discharges are from the confines of vehicles, which mask the action, provide concealment and mobility and collect spent cartridge cases.”

Warwickshire Police had not commented at the time we went to press.

Visit www.gunfire-graffiti.co.uk for further information.

Matt Seiber has been recording road sign shootings in the UK for the past five years, and says south Warwickshire is one of the most targeted regions. (s)

Matt calculated a single .308 round fired into the back of a sign near Bishops Tachbrook would still have had enough energy to kill beyond a mile. (s)

Deer around Compton Verney need to be on their guard. (s)

A blasted sign near Southam. (s)

A bullet hole can clearly be seen in this sign at Kineton. Matt ignores damage caused by mere airgun attacks which is easily discernible from firearm attacks. (s)

A bullet hole can clearly be seen in this sign at Kineton. Matt ignores damage caused by mere airgun attacks which is easily discernible from firearm attacks. (s)

Deer around Compton Verney need to be on their guard. (s)

A blasted sign near Southam. (s)

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