A San Francisco streetcar dedicated to gay rights campaigner Harvey Milk was taken out of service after vandals daubed homophobic graffiti on it.

The 1970s car was restored last year and had a cameo role in the film Milk, about the activist’s life.

According to the Bay Area Reporter, officials realised this week that three of the eight placards inside the carriage had been daubed with slurs such as ‘fag’ and ‘faggot’, while one was missing. It was removed from service on Monday, although it was back in use the following day.

It is thought the damage occurred in late June, as Jamison Wieser, the gay director of a local streetcar restoration group, uploaded images of the vandalised placards to his Flickr account on June 29th. He believes it occurred over Pride weekend. Some officials have raised concerns about the slurs going unnoticed for six weeks.

Replacing the placards is expected to cost $800.

The streetcar was dedicated to Milk, a former San Francisco city supervisor, because he was the only city official who used public transport every day. He was assassinated in 1978.

Yesterday, president Barack Obama posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom to Milk for his years of campaigning.