Members of the public have been reacting angrily after a stunning street art painting of Star Wars character Princess Leia on Southend seafront was vandalised by ‘activists’ just a few hours after it was completed on Friday.

Local artists John Bulley and Mark Sharp created the piece as part of an ongoing project to brighten up the streets of Southend with eye-catching artistic creations, and just a few hours later slogans appeared in red spray paint showing support for the Star Trek movie franchise.

Southend News Network received a VHS video this evening that confirmed that the act of vandalism had been carried out by the well-known Friends of Shatner group, the militant right wing of the Star Trek Superfan Movement who promote the merits of Star Trek over Star Wars all over the world.

The video has now been handed over to Essex Police, which means that we are unable to reproduce any of it for legal reasons.

However, we can exclusively confirm that a senior member of the group has accepted responsibility for the attack. Our newsdesk has been exchanging emails with a verified go-between who provided us with more information about why the attack was carried out.

He said: ‘Star Wars continues to enjoy an unjust and scandalous level of public awareness, while Star Trek has become a target for ridicule on a regular basis for its so-called ‘geeky’ status.’

‘The group leader became aware of a tribute artwork being created in Southend On Sea, and he immediately contacted a splinter group operating in Essex called Al-Frontier who agreed to carry out the attack.’

‘It is a clear message to Disney that their financial doping of the Star Wars franchise will no longer be accepted. The slogans speak for themselves, and the beard and the bindi and symbolic of the millions of people every day who disgracefully believe that Star Wars and Star Trek are the same thing.’

‘If this clear message isn’t recognised by those who have the power to change the world for the better, we will have to resort to far more drastic measures. Nobody wearing a Darth Vader boob tube top will be able to walk the streets at night.’