Quite clearly, those responsible for such advertisements should be punished under whichever laws are appropriate, and I often read of local councils threatening to do so each time reports of such misdeeds are published. What I fail to understand is why such threats of prosecution have either not been carried out or, if carried out, have been unsuccessful. I have not read or heard of it. It cannot surely be the case that such activity is difficult to prove when the evidence is right there, staring the local council in the face.
The first thing that the local council has to establish is that the advertisements are there for all to see. The culprits are not those who are paid to stick them up, although they could be regarded as accessories to the crime. The real culprit must surely be those who caused the advertisements to appear and those whose businesses or goods or services benefit from the advertisements – and their details are of necessity clearly laid out in the advertisements.
From an evidentiary point of view, it must be self-evident and so the presumption of guilt would easily be accepted by any court of law (unless the perpetrator is able to rebut such presumption).
A guilty verdict would be the best deterrent and the ensuing punishment would undoubtedly put an end to this scourge.
PRO BONO PUBLICO