Graffiti writers will face tough punishments

PCSO Phil Wane
PCSO Phil Wane

Police are warning graffiti writers they’ll have to clean up their scrawls and face possible prosecutions after almost 1,000 tags were
discovered in a town.

More than 100 graffiti writers have been detected in Wellingborough since Operation Illustration was launched in the town a few months ago.

With just eight recorded cases of graffiti-related criminal damage in Wellingborough last year, police say the operation has already led to a huge increase in detection rates.

PCSO Phil Wane, who has led the operation in Wellingborough, said repeat offenders could expect tough punishments.

He said: “Police and partner agencies are committed to dealing with the issue, which is the reason more crimes are being detected.

“I want us to document it, get it removed as quickly as possible and get people prosecuted. I want people to see the difference between damage and art.

“With first offences we look for reparations, which is removing it and writing a letter of apology to the owner of the property. We had a couple of cases last year and these people have not re-offended.

“But this punishment is for the younger people who are doing it for the first time, not for the repeat offenders.

“It costs the British taxpayer £1 billion a year to get rid of graffiti. It’s not a victimless crime because if the council has to clean it up, the taxpayer has to pay. It also leads to other forms of crimes and anti-social behaviour.”

The work being done in Wellingborough is now being replicated by PCSOs in other parts of the county in a bid to tackle the problem.