AN artist has taken up her spray paints to help a coffee shop after it was the victim of vandals.

Maldon artist Natalie Huntsman drew a scene of flowers, clouds and rabbits on hoardings at Sophie’s Kitchen in King George’s Place.

The shop’s windows were smashed during a late night incident in High Street, Maldon, last month.

Police were called at 11.15pm on Saturday, June 30, after the criminal damage was caused.

Ms Hunstman, who lives in one of the flats above the shop, decided to transform the boards after hearing what had happened.

She said: “I felt really sorry for them, because it is hard enough on shops on the high street without hoarding all over the front of your shop.

“I do art with spray paints and I offered to do something nice for them.

“I got up at 5.30 in the morning to do it and had a coffee to get me started.

“I really enjoyed doing it.

“It’s a talking piece and it’ll help encourage people to go into the coffee shop and ask about it.

“I just wanted to put something up that was pretty and inoffensive.”

Owner Sophie Spink said two windows were smashed during the incident.

“It was unfortunate because we didn’t find out until the next morning when we opened up.

“We’re almost up to our year anniversary in August too so that didn’t help.

“It had to be shut for a little, but we wanted people to know that we could make something good out of a bad situation.”

Ms Spink has thanked Natalie for making the hoardings “more pleasing to the eye”.

“Natalie and I are quite close anyway and she approached me to help out,” she said.

“I’m happy that there’s that community spirit here.

“We need to make sure that we’re supporting our small businesses.

“I think it’s really, really lovely that she did that. It’s a lot more pleasing to the eye.”