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The battle over the letter 'O' - who is behind graffiti of Thetford (O)Ranges sign on A11?

PUBLISHED: 12:03 24 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:50 24 December 2018

The Thetford Ranges sign, which has been altered to say Thetford Oranges. Photo: Luke Powell

The Thetford Ranges sign, which has been altered to say Thetford Oranges. Photo: Luke Powell

Archant

It is a battle that has raged on for years along the A11 in Norfolk.

A Google Street View image showing the altered version of the Thetford Ranges sign on the A11. Photo: GoogleA Google Street View image showing the altered version of the Thetford Ranges sign on the A11. Photo: Google

On one side is a serial prankster intent on adding an ‘o’ to the Thetford Ranges sign near the London Road roundabout.

But on the other is the Highways Agency, which has to remove the letter to prevent drivers asking for fruit at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) shooting range.

The unusual graffiti, which turns the sign into ‘Thetford Oranges’, has developed a minor cult following online over the past two years.

But no one seems to know who is behind the stunt.

Another sign for the Thetford Ranges without any graffiti. Photo: GoogleAnother sign for the Thetford Ranges without any graffiti. Photo: Google

Musician Kit Marsden, from Hemblington, regularly posts on Twitter every time he passes it.

He said: “I first noticed it a few years back, as I was heading home. I started marking my sightings of the sign because it’s quirky and interesting.

“You can go a bit crazy driving around on your own in the middle of the night, so a little bit of humour goes a long way to cheering you up when it’s 5am on a long trip back from Plymouth or Carlisle - and because it means I am nearly home.”

The back and forth between the prankster and the Highways Agency has been going on since 2016.

The modified version of the sign even appears on a Google Street View.

Highways England, which is responsible for maintaining signage on the road, confirmed it had cleaned up the latest effort on Thursday night.

A Highways England spokesman said its maintenance team did not know how many times the sign had been cleaned.

The sign indicates a turning for the MOD-owned Thetford Rifle Range, off the A11 dual carriageway.

When asked if the graffiti had led to any confusion, an MOD spokesman said: “We’ve certainly never heard of this so I think it’s fairly safe to say that nobody turns up asking for oranges.”

A Highways England spokesman said: “The sign is within the Highways boundary so it’s our responsibility. It was cleaned last night [Thursday, December 21].

“[The maintenance team] doesn’t know how many times it has happened. It’s likely it would just have been picked up on routine maintenance rounds, and not specifically logged as ‘Thetford oranges sign cleaning’.”

• Do you know who is behind the graffiti? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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