The artwork painted in Withington, Marcus Rashford's hometown, was defaced after England lost to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday; several swear words were sprayed onto the mural after Rashford missed a penalty, along with Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka
Friday 16 July 2021 14:01, UK
Police say the defacing of a Marcus Rashford mural in Manchester is "not believed to be of a racial nature", but investigations continue and forensic specialists are looking at the spray paint used in the attack for further clues.
The artwork painted on the side of the Coffee House Cafe on Copson Street in Withington, Rashford's hometown, was defaced after England lost to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.
Several swear words were sprayed onto the mural after Rashford missed a penalty, along with Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.
All three players have also been targeted with racist abuse on social media.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it is "keeping an open mind as to the motive" behind the mural vandalism as officers investigate several lines of inquiry.
The force added it is working through CCTV from the area as well as forensic evidence from the spray paint used, with results expected in the coming weeks.
No arrests have been made and police are appealing for information.
GMP said in a statement: "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 defacing the artwork."
Superintendent Richard Timson added: "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."
Since the mural was vandalised, hundreds of messages of support have been placed by the artwork, which was also restored by street artist Akse.
Greater Manchester Police launched an investigation after it received a report of racially aggravated damage at the mural at 2.50am on Monday.
Crowds later gathered for an anti-racism demonstration on Tuesday evening.
Rashford said he was "lost for words" as he thanked people for their messages of support.
The National Police Chief's Council revealed on Thursday that a dedicated police unit is working through a significant number of reports of racist abuse directed at footballers on social media.
So far five people have been arrested during the investigations.
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