Graffitibusters begin their city clean up campaign at St Faiths Lane Norwich.

Volunteers turned out in force last night to help clean graffiti from buildings in an area close to Norwich Cathedral. They volunteered after reading about the Evening News's Graffitibusters campaign and reporter Ben Woods joined them.

It is an elegant part of the city centre where tourists come to marvel at the sight of the cathedral.

But only a stone's throw away from the bustle of Tombland, there is a Norwich street telling a different story.

St Faith's Lane has been blighted by the offensive tags and spray-paint scrawl from a group of graffiti artists.

That was until last night, when volunteers descended on the area to give it a much-needed facelift.

The police, a representative from Norwich City Council, and people who responded to the Evening News Graffitibusters campaign, all picked up a paint brush to help rid this area of the unsavoury scrawl.

Targeting doors, walls and gates, more than a dozen volunteers transformed the street into pleasant place for people to walk.

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Sgt Pete Sharples, of the City Centre Safer Neighbourhoods Team, helped organise the clean-up.

He believes the problem needs to be tackled to stop it intimidating the public and bringing down the image of the city.

'The Safer Neighbourhood panel have been looking at the problem and how we can best tackle it in the future,' he added.

'Four years ago we managed to get volunteers to help clean up the area where they lived and did positive work in Pottergate and Fishers Lane.

'Now we are doing it again and we hope to tackle it in two ways. There is the investigation side, where if we see someone tagging a wall we take them through the court system and prosecute.

'And then there is the identification side, where we identify areas hit by graffiti and reclaim them for the city. We do this by painting over what they have done and, if it comes back, we simply paint over it again.

'For me, it is about making this attractive city even more attractive, as well as reassuring people and making them feel comfortable.'

All the paint used by the volunteers was paid for by donations from the public who responded to the Evening News campaign to help rid our streets of graffiti.

Meanwhile, the Norwich City Council graffiti team also played their part by using special equipment to remove the tags in hard to reach places on St Faith's Lane.

Julian Foster, chairman of the City Centre Neighbourhoods Team Action Panel (Snap), was delighted with the volunteers who decided to throw their weight behind the campaign to clean up the city.

'I am extremely pleased by the number of volunteers who have decided to come down and help,' he said.

'Most of these volunteers came as a result of the Evening News plea and we have already had several cash donations.

'But we really need people to keep donating money because of the cost of the paint. At the moment, there is just not enough money in the police budget or the city council budget to fund this work.

'However, I do want to acknowledge the help we received from the city council who helped us get rid of the graffiti on this street.'

Norwich City Council receives between 400 and 500 reports of graffiti each year, spending more than �1m a year on cleaning the streets of Norwich, which includes tackling graffiti.

Have you got a story for the Graffitibusters campaign? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772495 or email