Criminal damage born of Olympic pride.

10 July 2013

On hearing of Ben Ainslie's gold medal win, residents of Lymington looked forward to getting their gold post box.

However, when they found out that the gold post box in honour of the town's most famous resident was going to be painted in his childhood home in Cornwall, one resident took matters into his own hands and did the job himself.  Unfortunately, his pride in the achievements of his fellow citizen has resulted in his arrest on suspicion of criminal damage.

Rob Smith, 51 and a father of three, spray painted a post box in Lymington High Street, but was arrested at the scene in the early hours of the morning by police, held overnight, and has subsequently been released on bail. 

He said: "When they said they weren't going to paint anything in Lymington, I just thought this is madness."

Mr Smith runs a bar and restaurant in the town and said locals were unhappy when they heard the golden post box would be situated in Cornwall, where Mr Ainslie grew up.

He said: "He's lived here for around 15 years, all of Lymington believes that the Post Office made the wrong choice in painting one down in Cornwall, give him two."

Mr Smith explained "I did it because I'm a passionate sportsman, I think the Olympics have been brilliant, Ben's achievements have been outstanding.  We've got to recognise these people and say thank you."

A spokesman for Royal Mail said: "We are extremely disappointed that someone has chosen to vandalise this particular post box.  It is illegal to tamper with any of our post boxes and we are liaising with our engineers to ensure that it is repainted red as soon as possible."