Damaging election signs a criminal offence

Vandalizing political signs may be funny to mischief makers, but the head of Langley RCMP says it’s a crime that comes with stiff punishment.

Those caught vandalizing or removing elections signs can face penalties that will seriously hit their pocketbook or even result in jail time, warned Supt. Derek Cooke.

“Defacing or pulling down campaign signs is a criminal offence,” Cooke said, adding that those who are caught will face a charge of mischief, which carries a fine of up to $5,000 or two years in prison.

In recent weeks, a number of election signs have been knocked down or stolen, while others have been marred with graffiti or foul language.

“It is a big problem during election season,” said Cooke.

With only a few days left before the municipal election on Saturday, officials are asking the public to keep an eye out for those vandalizing election signs, and to report them to the Langley RCMP. Cooke noted that police are following up on tips from residents who have witnessed signs being vandalized and called in the suspects’ licence plate numbers.

While it is illegal for people to pull down election signs, it is also illegal for candidates to keep them up past a certain date: All election signs must be removed by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Under Township bylaws, candidates who do not remove their signs on time, or who have put them where they are not supposed to be, can face a fine of up to $1,000 per day or up to two months in prison.

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