CND protesters' gaffe leaves Herbert Wilkes seeing red

BIRMINGHAM firm Herbert Wilkes faces a repair bill for thousands of pounds after its main office was vandalised by CND demonstrators who mistook it for the French Chamber of Commerce.

The attackers daubed CND slogans and flung red paint 40ft up the front of the Grade II-listed building following France's second nuclear test explosion last week.

They targeted the Church Street building because the Midland bureau of the French chamber had occupied an office there until three months ago.

Contractors had only recently completed a £8,000 renovation programme on the ornate Flemish-style building.

CND apologised for the attack and blamed it on extremists who did not have the backing of senior figures.

Herbert Wilkes senior partner Richard Jaffa said the firm's business had not been affected but warned that the damage would be costly and difficult to repair.

He said the firm would be unlikely to win a compensation claim against CND and it was not known whether the firm's insurance policy covered such damage. It would also be difficult to find craftsmen with the necessary skills to restore the 200-year-old building to its former condition, he added.