The term ‘graffiti’ refers to any drawings, paintings or messages that are written, painted or carved on public and private surfaces without the permission of the property owner. Graffiti defaces property and is often referred to as vandalism.
Graffiti is a problem because it can:
- Look bad.
- Be offensive.
- Make an area appear rundown and neglected.
- Encourage more anti-social behaviours and crimes.
- Make people feel frightened and intimidated.
- Be difficult and expensive to remove.
- Negatively impact on the local economy as visitors are less likely to want to visit an area defaced by graffiti.
The following legislation is in place which aims to help local authorities and private land owners to control graffiti in their area:
- Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005
- Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003
- Town and Country Planning Act 1990
- Criminal Damage Act 1971
- Local Government Act 2000
In Torbay any person found committing a graffiti offence may be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for £75. If a person is issued a Fixed Penalty Notice and chooses not to pay it they may face a fine in court of up to £2,500.
Taking a Stand
If council property is defaced by graffiti action will be taken as soon as possible to try and remove the damage especially if it is deemed to be offensive to others.
If private property has been subject to graffiti it is the responsibility of the property owner to arrange for its removal, and not the council. The council can provide information about methods of graffiti removal to the owners of private property.
Residents and visitors to Torbay deserve to enjoy a clean and litter free environment. If you would like to help keep Torbay tidy, report cases of graffiti on telephone 01803 207900.
Before calling you may want to think about the following:
- When did the offence occur?
- What is the specific location of the graffiti?
- Is the graffiti offensive?
- Do you think the graffiti is on private property (e.g. a garage or a utility box) or do you think the graffiti is on council property (e.g. a street sign or lamppost)?
- What type of surface is the graffiti on (e.g. brick or metal)?
- How large an area does the graffiti cover?
- Are there any access issues in reaching the graffiti?
- Did you see who committed the offence and could you provide a description?
If your property has been damaged by graffiti, please ensure you also report the incident to the Police online at www.online.police.uk or by calling 101 (NB: This should be used for Non-Urgent calls only).Information about specific offences and ‘tags’ may assist the Police with their enquiries and help them to target persistent graffiti offenders.
There are a number of methods available to remove graffiti and there are also specialist businesses that offer graffiti removal services.
How graffiti is removed will depend on the surface that has been damaged (e.g. brick or metal), and the method that has been used to deface the surface (e.g. spray paint).
Graffiti is often removed using a combination of chemicals and high pressure jet washes but sometimes it is not possible to remove graffiti fully and a faint mark can remain. Where graffiti cannot be removed using chemicals, it is often painted over.
Where a surface is persistently victim to graffiti it may be suitable to apply an ‘anti-graffiti coating’. These coatings can be applied to a surface and whilst they do not protect from graffiti attacks, they can make the removal process quicker and less labour intensive.
If your property has been targeted with graffiti and you intend to remove it yourself, please ensure that you:
- Purchase products from a trusted supplier.
- Seek confirmation from the supplier as to the most appropriate products to remove the graffiti.
- Take appropriate measures to protect your health and safety (e.g. use heavy duty protective gloves and goggles, only use products in a well ventilated area, and ensure you are familiar with what action to take if chemicals are spilled, come into contact with the skin and eyes or are ingested).
- Always ensure that graffiti removal products are stored safely, securely and away from children and animals.
- Test a small area to check if the removal method will permanently damage the surface.
- Consider applying an anti-graffiti coating to the surface if appropriate.
If you require further information about graffiti removal, contact the Community Protection Team on telephone 01803 208091 or E-mail email@example.com. If you are responsible for a business in Torbay and would like to discuss graffiti removal from your property, contact telephone 01803 207900 for a quote.
Live in a Street Warden Area?
The Street Warden’s will be able to provide you with information and advice about reporting graffiti and removing graffiti from private property. To find out if you live in a Street Warden area, visit the page.
Related WebsitesKeep Britain Tidy
- Application - Graffiti Removal Works (Printable)
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