A vandal has etched the word "Spartan" into the paintwork of more than 100 cars in a £70,000 wrecking spree.
The cars were damaged in two days of random attacks and police admit to being puzzled about the motivation behind the crime.
Police are now hunting the vandal, who targeted vehicles parked up in Laindon, Essex.
Mystery surrounds the use of the word "Spartan", which is normally associated with ancient Greek warriors, with police saying: "We've considered a number of connotations of the word Spartan in various contexts and, at this moment in time, we remain to be convinced of a specific link."
The attacks by someone using a sharp implement took place on February 28 and March 10.
Chief Inspector Simon Dobinson, of Essex Police, said: "I personally believe this was a premeditated, considered and malicious attack by the same person, owing to the similarity of the writing and the proximity of the crimes."
Police have released closed-circuit television footage of the vandal in action in the hope of identifying the culprit.
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