‘I will not be bullied’ says owner of vandalised café

A Lavenham tea room owner repeatedly targeted by vandals over a “risqué” image has vowed to stand up to bullying tactics.

Maxine Mansfield, who opened Tickled Pink in the High Street six years ago, said she is the victim of a vendetta which has seen repeated acts of vandalism.

The café’s sign, depicting a woman reclining on a sofa, was spray painted and damaged several times. Miss Mansfield replaced it three times at a cost of £150 each time, and has now bought a new sign with Marilyn Monroe, of whom she is a fan, showing more skin than was on show in the old sign.

“I am not going to be bullied, this is to say ‘This is how I am’ – I like the café the way it is,” she said. “It is obviously somebody strange that has a vendetta.”

She said she had received an anonymous letter asking her to change the name and sign to a Tudor Rose to be more in keeping with the village, which she declined.

Miss Mansfield, 48, said she could not see why the previous sign had provoked anger. “You see worse than that on a Friday night in Sudbury,” she said.

Miss Mansfield claimed fake posts criticising her and her food had been put on review website TripAdvisor, while lit cigarette stubs had been pushed through the letterbox on several occasions.

Alexia Moore, 21, who works part-time at Tickled Pink, said: “It is not very nice. We did try to tape the letterbox shut but it hasn’t worked.”

Miss Mansfield has offered a £50 reward for information.

“The police have been very good but it is really difficult,” she said.

Inspector Paul Crick, from Sudbury Police, said: “We have fully investigated these incidents through a range of methods. Due to a lack of evidence, we have not been able to catch those responsible.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress.