AROUND 2,500 people have been fired up to sign a petition for a graffiti gun to stay.

Dorchester town councillors asked for the 'inappropriate' depiction under a railway bridge on Damers Road to be changed following complaints last weekend.

As reported in the Echo, county artist Peter Sheridan said he didn't mean to cause offence and would change the gun to a banana or a fistful of railway tickets.

But this has prompted a Facebook campaign from residents who want the mural to remain in place.

The 'Keep the Artwork under the Bridge' page has attracted hundreds of comments in support of the wild west-themed mural.

Robin Rees, who set up the group, said complaints about the gun are 'over the top.'

He said there was an obscene sketch on the bridge before the mural was created and surely that was 'much more offensive.'

Mr Rees added: “I grew up watching Wild West films and the Milky Bar kid cowboy adverts and that didn't do any harm.

“This is a good project helping young people.

“Peter does a lot of work with young people that haven't got anything.

“They can get involved in projects like this rather than turn to crime and vandalism.”

As reported in the Echo, the mural is based on the film True Grit because some of it is sketched in 'reversible graffiti'- not with paint but with dirt already on the wall.

District cllr Gillian Summers said she is 'amazed' at the response to the Facebook page, which was set up independently from the project.

She said as far as she was aware the town and district councils have each only received one complaint.

The artwork is part of a 'good graffiti' competition rolled out in west Dorset's three main towns- Bridport, Sherborne and Dorchester.

Each has a 'free wall', where anyone can go and paint without fear of committing a crime.

Cllr Summers told the Echo that it 'saves the town council money' because they don't have to pay to have vandalism cleaned up in other areas.

The competition will close in April and there will be an award ceremony for the best art.

Dorchester Town Council is invited to a private meeting headed by cllr Summers next week to discuss the artwork and ceremony.

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