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Bid to catch Norwich's most notorious graffiti tagger

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 March 2011 | UPDATED: 13:28 15 March 2011

Shook is one of Norwich's most notorious tags

Shook is one of Norwich's most notorious tags

Archant

From underpasses to boarded up shop fronts, it seems there is no escaping one of Norwich's most prolific vandals.

Yesterday the Evening News published the findings of a snapshot survey which found more than 20 cases of graffiti tags in five different locations around the city.

And today we can reveal that the most common tag being illegally scrawled around Norwich is that of Shook!.

In less than an hour the Evening News found 35 locations scrawled with the distinctive signature.

It could be seen in the St Stephen’s underpass, on Tombland, Prince of Wales Road, King Street, Bridewell Alley, Little London Street and Orford Hill, to name but a few. The tag was even spotted as far out of the city as Thorpe St Andrew.

Today the Evening News is urging people who know the identity of the person behind the tag to come forward and tell the police.

If found guilty they could face a fine of up to £5,000, and potentially even jail.

Despite the prevalence of the Shook tag, the identity of the person behind it remains a mystery and Norfolk police are trialling a new system which they hope will make it easier to identify those responsible.

Graffiti artist Tony Allen now co-ordinates legal graffiti sites across the city. He admits that in his youth he was responsible for illegal graffiti.

He said: “We distinguish between graffiti artists, those who create some kind of picture, and graffiti writes, those who base their graffiti around a particular word.

“Whoever is doing it won’t necessarily be thinking ‘I’ll do this to annoy people’. They’ll just be getting a buzz from it and it can be addictive just like anything else.

“I don’t know who is behind the Shook tag but it’s certainly true you see it all over Norwich.

“But I’m also aware of Shook tags in London, Newcastle, Birmingham, Sheffield and even the Isle of Wight, so it is clear that whoever does it travels all over the place.

“I would expect that they have a link to Norwich but it’s possible they might not live here. For example, it may be somebody that comes to Norwich regularly to visit a relative and ends up tagging when they’re here.”

PC Peter Davison, from the Norwich operational partnership team, said a new database which aims to compile intelligence reports about vandalised areas could help catch taggers such as the person responsible for Shook.

He said: “We are piloting this database in Norwich and, if it is successful, it will be extended across Norfolk.

“Officers who are out on the streets on a regular basis, for example those from safer neighbourhood teams, will be asked to report back about what tags they see, where and when.

“We can then build up a picture of what is going on and identify any hot spots and any particularly common tags.

“By compiling this information we can build up a profile of taggers like Shook and that could help us catch the person responsible and prosecute them.”

Broadland District Council is also taking action to target graffiti. There has been an increase in the amount of graffiti around the Sprowston, Old Catton and Thorpe St Andrews areas and this is dominated by a handful of prolific tags.

The council plans to use a secure database, similar to that used by the police, to map the scale of the problem.

Police and council staff will be able to share the information. The system automatically calculates the cost of removal, which could be used to calculate compensation if the tagger is caught.

Do you know who is behind the Shook! tag or do you live in an area where graffiti is particularly bad? Contact Ben Kendall on 01603 772423 or email ben.kendall@archant.co.uk

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