Warning issued to yobs after Norwich graffiti arrests

Youngsters intent on blighting Norwich with illegal graffiti tags have today been warned they will be caught and made to pay for their anti-social behaviour.

The message comes as it emerged that two youths caught spraying graffiti in the St Faith's Lane area, near Prince of Wales Road, will be made to help clean up the city as part of their punishment by attending paint-out sessions.

The Evening News has launched its Graffitibusters campaign to try and combat the growing number of illegal tags threatening to spoil this fine city.

People have been urged to support the campaign by donating their time and money which can be used to buy paint to help keep the streets clean as part of a series of paint-outs attended by police and volunteers.

The two youths will be made to help out at paint-outs organised in the city centre over the coming weeks after being arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage, along with another male, in St Faith's Lane in the early hours of Wednesday, August 17.

The offenders were spotted spraying tags on doorways and bus-ticket vending machines in the city centre by a city council CCTV operator.

A number of cans of spray paint and marker pens were seized and a number of graffiti tags were found and photographed by officers.

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As a result of the police investigation that followed, two males have been referred to the youth offending team and will now be required to attend a number of graffiti paint-out sessions in the city, painting over existing graffiti.

The sessions are organised by the City Centre Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) to reduce the visual impact of graffiti tags in Norwich.

PC Dave Block, of the City Centre SNT, said: 'Painting or writing graffiti on property is illegal and causes significant annoyance and inconvenience to residents and business owners in Norwich.

'It can make an area feel shabby and impact on the city's appeal to visitors and the quality of life of communities. There is a clear distinction between legal graffiti art in defined areas in Norwich and the 'tagging' of property. Police will take positive action against offenders and will look to ensure that those affected by graffiti will be compensated by those that are responsible for it.'

The Graffitibusters campaign, supported by Norwich Police along with Norwich City Council, Central Norwich Citizens Forum and Norwich City Centre Partnership, was launched earlier this year and has already attracted dozens of volunteers armed with brushes to attend paint out sessions.

Businesses, including The Mall Norwich, bars Queen of Iceni, Revolution, the county council recycling centre at Ketteringham and decorating company Hamilton Acorn have been among those to offer paint, money and materials to the campaign so far.

Have you got a story for the campaign? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk


How to get involved

You can help 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, or alternatively, email info@norwich.gov.uk