A new war of words has broken out between rival referendum factions in Moray over damage and destruction of Yes signs on private property.
Yes campaigners say that attacks on signs they have distributed throughout the region has resulted in damages valued at several hundred pounds – and now they are offering a reward for information on who is behind the attacks.
That has resulted in a furious backlash from the No campaign in Moray, who say that it is “opportunistic” of the Yes side to lay the blame at their door for the damage.
Leading Yes campaigner and a SNP councillor in Elgin, Graham Leadbitter, announced the offer of a £500 reward for information that leads to a conviction of the “criminals” who have been vandalising the signs.
He said: “To date more than a dozen signs have been damaged or stolen including, in some cases, the fence posts they were attached to. This is a frustrating and disappointing response from NO activists.
“Yes Moray have made clear that this type of behaviour is not just petty, it is criminal and unacceptable and undermines the importance of the referendum vote.
“These activities are illegal. This reward is aimed at making sure there is a level playing field for both sides as we enter the final days of the campaign.”
However, it is the direct accusation that No activists are behind the vandalism that has angered No campaigner and Labour councillor for Fochabers/Lhanbryde, Sean Morton.
He said: “I cannot for a second imagine that anyone who has been active in the Better Together Campaign has vandalised these signs.
“There is simply no place in our campaign for people who don’t appreciate free speech. In fact, unlike the Yes campaign, we’ve tried to make sure our stickers don’t even end up vandalising public property.
“It is unbelievably opportunistic of the SNP in these dog days to lay the blame at the door of No campaigners when they have no proof.
“I think the SNP find it painful to realise that not everyone agrees with them – not everyone is involved in this debate which we say has become divisive but they insist is the pride of Scotland.
“We are the underdog now in the fight of our lives and there is nobody in our campaign who thinks targeting the many, many Yes signs in Moray is a good use of our time.
“I for one will be happy when Scotland has spoken and we can return to being one nation again.”
Yes Moray are calling on anyone with information regarding the damage of their signs to contact the police non-emergency line 101 and by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.