Mystery still surrounds the desecration of a community art project advertising a cycling scheme due to start this afternoon.

Blue paint was smeared all over the graffiti art that was created on the side of a large industrial container in Bush Hill Park just last week.

The Friends of Bush Hill Park had commissioned local graffiti artist Simon Tomlinson to decorate the container, which houses bikes for a new council Bike Box scheme, with the help of local primary school children and parents.

But they were horrified to discover someone had vandalised the graphics overnight on Sunday little more than 24 hours before the first users were due to come and hire the free bikes.

Project leader Paul Willison said: “It is such a shame. It was a fantastic piece of art work.

“It is kicking off today. I’m really disappointed that someone would do that to such a beautiful mural. I have no idea why they would want to do it. It’s just a complete shame.

“They’ve destroyed the advertising for what is a great project that will benefit so many people in the area.”

Police are understood to be investigating the incident, which is believed to have been a targeted attack.