Police have asked the pubic to respect the tributes left for stabbed burglar Henry Vincent.
After his death during an attempted burglary in Hither Green, London, in which Richard Osborn-Brooks managed to get a screwdriver from Vincent before stabbing him, flowers and cards have been left on Osborn-Brooks' street in memory of Vincent.
However, angry vigilantes have since torn down and thrown away all of the tributes because they believe them to be insulting to Osborn-Brooks, who has been forced to leave his South London home and go into hiding since the incident.
After the flowers were taken down, Vincent's family returned to rebuild the shrine, only to see it ripped back down again.
This has now taken place several times over the past few days.
Now, the police have stepped in and are guarding the floral tributes and cards and have been reported to be threatening to arrest anyone trying to remove them.
A man lays a floral tribute. Credit: PA
One of the vigilantes who has been photographed taking down the tributes, known only as Mike, told The Sun: "You'd think the coppers would have better things to do.
"We've been warned that if we do take them down again they will nick us so it's a bit trickier.
"There's a copper standing right next to the fence keeping an eye on the flowers. It's in case the travellers come down at the same time but they haven't yet.
He continued: "There's a few of us who will take turns so they can't identify us. We've just got to be a bit more careful when taking the next lot down.
"We will take them down again if needed. It's just a case of who's brave enough to do it."
Chief Superintendent Simon Dobinson, the borough commander for Lewisham, said: "We have a responsibility to provide reassurance to local residents so they can go about their daily lives, while also respecting the wishes of family and friends to mark the loss of a loved one.
"While the location and nature of floral tributes is generally not a matter for police, our officers are providing support both to residents and those who are mourning.
Vigilante Iain Gordon removes the flowers. Credit: PA
He continued: "We do not want anyone to feel intimidated or that they are not being allowed to respond in a dignified way to a tragic death.
"A small police presence remains in place in and around South Park Crescent to provide reassurance to the public.
"We urge members of the public to respect the wishes of those who choose to place flowers and other tributes in the area."
Police patrol the streets in Hither Green. Credit: PA
Pensioner Osborn-Brooks and his wife Maureen are currently living in a police safe house and are under 24 hour police supervision.
Featured Image Credit: PA