A BILLBOARD aimed at tackling homophobia in Blackburn's schools has been vandalised with abusive graffiti.

The advertising panel underneath the railway bridge in Darwen Street is to highlight the work of Stonewall, the organisation which promotes equality for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals.

Six hundred billboard panels across the country depict the message 'Some people are gay. Get over it!' The posters first appeared on billboards on Monday, February 11, and will stay up for two weeks.

Stonewall is using them to highlight their Education for All campaign to tackle homophobic bully-ing in schools.

Chris Gibbons, senior education officer at Stonewall, said: "Sadly, the vandalism of a small number of the new Sto-ewall billboards is a reminder that homophobia still exists in our society and highlights the need to address the issue in schools and in our communities.

"However, we are enco-uraged by the overwh-elmingly positive response we have rece-ived to this campaign.

"It's clear that people think anti-gay discrimi-nation is unacceptable and want schools to tackle homophobic bullying. "

PC Kevin Little from the Gay Police Association said that the abuse written on the poster was classified as a hate crime by the police.

He said: "The police would appeal for infor-mation on who has done the graffiti and anybody can report it."

George Haworth, secretary of the 4 Health Group, which supports lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in Blackburn, said: "The defacing of the billboard makes us really angry.

"It's 2008 now and people are still obviously not happy with a poster saying get real and get with the reality of today.

"We have done a lot of work in schools with Stonewall in the past and it's obvious that a lot more education needs to be done.

"Adults too need educating, not just children.

"There are a variety of reasons why people write such offensive things: sometimes it's hate, sometimes it's religiously orientated, but it's all ignorant."

Nobody from Blackburn Police was available to comment but anyone with information about the vandalism can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or 0845 1 25 35 45.