A MYSTERIOUS figure has owned up to defacing Botley’s shops with anti-council graffiti after more slogans appeared last week.

Painted in white, the fresh graffiti has been sprayed on wooden hoardings protecting the windows of shops in the dilapidated West Way shopping centre for the third time in a month.

Reading ‘Community? You destroyed our community’ and ‘Enjoy your new car Mr Barber’, the increasingly busy vandal has continue to lambast Vale of White Horse District Council for perceived failures in delivering a shopping centre that meets residents' needs.

It comes as the Botley Development Company published its strategy for how the £100m project to build new shops, a hotel and student accommodation will benefit the area.

But in a letter sent to the Oxford Mail, a person claiming to be behind the graffiti and calling themselves ‘Waldo Skipsey’ said they were forced to act because Botley had been ‘destroyed’.

They wrote: “Where there was a thriving community, now there is a boarded-up ghost town. Our traders are gone, and they will never return.”

Waldo takes aim at Vale Council, and its leader Matthew Barber, for ‘destroying the very communities they are meant to serve’.

It states that ‘nobody' in Botley wants the redevelopment, which it is claimed will turn the area into a building site 'for many years’ and result in something 'inferior' to what existed before.

These concerns echo the arguments raised by community activists during the five years the project has been in the planning, but campaigners have denied being behind the vandalism when previously asked.

The writer’s address is given as the ‘Fair Rosamund Public House’, a Botley pub that was demolished to make way for housing in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, Iceland, which is closing its shop when redevelopment work begins, has refused to confirm an exact closure date despite rumours it could be as early as next month.

And the Botley Development Company has published its ‘community employment plan’ for the project which promises at least five per cent of the build value will be awarded to local companies and five per cent of the workforce will have an Oxfordshire postcode.

The Vale council said graffiti is ‘a criminal act’ which ‘blights’ an area and ‘cannot be condoned'.

A spokesman added: “The redevelopment of the West Way will bring new shops and businesses to Botley which will attract increased trade and benefit residents.”