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Yeovil graffiti spree clean-up bill may hit £20,000

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: January 19, 2013

VANDALS STRIKE: A bus shelter on Meadow Road in Yeovil is on of several in the town covered in graffiti. Yeovil East beat manager PC Simon Reeves, inset, branded the culprits as “mindless”

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A “mindless” graffiti spree across part of Yeovil could cost taxpayers £20,000 to clear up.

Councillor Tony Fife told fellow town councillors last week there was a “big problem” with graffiti in his ward of Yeovil East.

He expressed anger that it will be the taxpayer who ultimately foots the bill for its removal, which he estimated could be £20,000.

He said: “We have had a massive outbreak of graffiti. Every bus shelter and corner in the east ward has been badly vandalised.

“It’s something we should pay attention to because it’s something we will have to pay for.”

Among the bus shelters daubed with spray paint last week were those in Lyde Road and Meadow Road.

PC Simon Reeves, beat manager for Yeovil East, said he was not previously aware of a “significant problem” with graffiti and was disappointed to hear concerns about the damage.

He said it had alerted his team to damage they did not know about.

He said: “Our neighbourhood team in Yeovil is committed to tackling all anti-social behaviour and this includes graffiti. We know that graffiti can affect how safe people feel in their neighbourhood as well as having a negative impact visually on the area.

“It is inevitable that a handful of mindless individuals will seek to commit this criminal damage. I would ask the community to work with us by reporting graffiti when it appears and letting us know about the people committing this damage. We do take it seriously and we will respond.”

A spokesman for South Somerset District Council said the authority is responsible for some, but not all, bus stops in the district and will endeavour to remove graffiti as soon as possible when alerted.

He urged residents to remove graffiti on their own property quickly to prevent it happening again.

Property owners are also advised to plant shrubs and climbers up walls and fences to discourage vandals.

He added: “Graffiti removal is very costly to the taxpayer and we try to do all we can to reduce the number of incidents in south Somerset. For example, we review CCTV footage if it is available to identify the perpetrator and we also increase the amount of patrols our enforcement officers do.

“Unfortunately, if graffiti occurs on private property we do not remove it automatically due to legal complications but if a member of the public wishes for us to clear graffiti from their property, we ask for written permission. We will then quote a price dependant on how big the job is and what type of graffiti has occurred.

“If it is racist, homophobic or obscene we will remove from anywhere as soon as possible but only with the owner’s permission.”

Have you been shocked by graffiti? Or do you paint graffiti legally, with the property owner’s permission? Contact newsdesk@westgaz.co.uk

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