Essex

Prodigy road sign tribute in Braintree angers Highways Agency

Road sign in Essex Image copyright Julian Allen
Image caption The sign was defaced 25 years to the day since the release of The Prodigy album Music for the Jilted Generation

A road sign tribute to a seminal 25-year-old Prodigy album has delighted fans from the band's home town - but has been criticised by officials.

The sign for the B1256 to Braintree in Essex has been daubed with a giant ant - the band's logo - and "J 1994" - the year Music for the Jilted Generation was released.

The band posted a video of the sign and said: "Respect to the jilted warriors."

But Highways England said defacing a sign was both dangerous and criminal.

Band member Keith Flint, who grew up in Braintree, was found dead at his Essex home on 4 March.

The video posted by his fellow band members shows a person in a hoodie standing on a stepladder and unveiling the new signage, as the NME first reported.

Thousands of people have commented on the sign on social media, including one who said: "Kinda makes Braintree look like a nature reserve to those who don't know, or, just a load of giant ants awaiting to kill humanity."

'Dangerous'

However, Highways England, which manages the busy four-carriageway road, took a dim view of the tribute.

"Defacing a road sign like this is dangerous not just for the person who does it but also for drivers and for our on-road teams who will have to fix it," a spokesman said.

"We view it as an act of vandalism and will work with the police to pursue prosecution wherever possible."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Flint co-founded The Prodigy in 1990 with Liam Howlett and Leeroy Thornhill

Flint was born in Redbridge in north-east London and his family moved to Braintree where, in 1990, he co-founded The Prodigy with Liam Howlett and Leeroy Thornhill.

Released 25 years ago, Music for the Jilted Generation was the band's second studio album and featured singles including No Good (Start the Dance) and Voodoo People.

Fan Julian Allen, who lives in Braintree and attended Flint's funeral at the end of March, photographed the new sign.

He said: "The music and its message is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago, and I know a lot of people are proud to be from Braintree who have followed the band since the start."

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