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

PUBLISHED: 09:50 16 June 2011

Volunteers from left, Adam Wyer, Emma Gooding, Sarah Weeks, and Oliver Flatman, painting a wall near Tombland as part of the Evening news Graffitibusters campaign. Picture: Denise Bradley

Volunteers from left, Adam Wyer, Emma Gooding, Sarah Weeks, and Oliver Flatman, painting a wall near Tombland as part of the Evening news Graffitibusters campaign. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant copyright 2011

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.

Dates for your diary and how you can help

Wednesday, June 22, at 6pm outside the Belgian Monk on Pottergate

Sunday, June 26, from 8.30am to 11.30am outside the Waterfront on King Street

Sunday, July 3, from 8.30am to 11.30am at the Rose Lane car park in Norwich. You can also help the campaign by:

Sending your donations to Graffitibusters, Central Norwich Citizens’ Forum, 2 Roaches Court,

Norwich, NR3 1HJ. Cheques should be made payable to Central Norwich Citizens’ Forum.

Donating paint – Send your paint, unopened tins or opened tins that are properly sealed, to Sgt Peter Sharples, City Centre Safer Neighbourhoods Team, Bethel Street Police Station, Norwich, NR2 1NN.

Volunteering – anyone interested in volunteering to help attend clean- up sessions should contact Sgt Peter Sharples at Bethel Street Police Station via 0845 456 4567 or write to Sgt Peter Sharples, City Centre Safer Neighbourhoods Team, Bethel Street Police Station, Norwich, NR2 1NN.

Reporting graffiti – call Norwich City Council on 0344 980 3333, email info@norwich.gov.uk or log onto www.norwich.gov.uk/webapps/atoz/service_page.asp?id=1562

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.

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 peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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