It's interesting to see that someone was arrested for criminal damage in London Bridge station for ticking "No" on the "Does God exist?" Alpha Course adverts that have been popping up around the country recently (pictured). A lot of the people discussing this in online forums (for example here on Bad Science) seem outraged by this, and there even seems to be a feeling that the individual was targeted by the police because they were writing on a religious advertisement.
As you can read in the Bad Science thread, the arrested individual emailed the National Secular Society to inform them of their plight, and argued that the advert was "inviting members of the public to participate by ticking the appropriate box", and so he did so by ticking "No". He was given the choice to pay an £80 fine, or challenge the charge in court. In the email to the NSS he says he is "left with little choice but to ask that this matter be dealt with by the court".
I'd be interested to know what readers make of this. Apparently six police officers were in attendance, which seems excessive, but surely writing on a poster in a train station is vandalism, no matter how stupid the poster might be? Is writing on this really any different from if someone had written all over an atheist bus ad back when they were running? (Incidentally, does anyone know if that ever did happen?) Of course, the Alpha ad is in the form of a questionnaire, so it is asking for it a little bit, but it should be pretty obvious that you're not actually supposed to fill it in.
And lastly, aren't we all a little bit old for defacing adverts in train stations with marker pens? (Unless of course the culprit was a minor, in which case don't they deserve a clip around the ear from their mother?)
These are just my own thoughts - I'd be interested to know what everyone else thinks....
[Update - Reading through the debate about this on Bad Science, I think this comment by "Warumich", who says they used to work for British Transport Police, pretty much sums up the issue.]