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Taggers bring Chippenham shame
A Chippenham councillor said the town will be shamed by widespread graffiti later this month as the country’s media turns its attention to the journey of the Olympic torch.
The torch is set to visit Chippenham on May 23 from 9.46-10.16am, and leader of the council Andrew Noblet says ugly graffiti daubed across landmarks in the town is on the route it will take.
In an area board meeting on Monday, Coun Noblet said police should be doing more to beat the Banksy wannabes.
“There has been an increase in these attacks of late,” he said.
“Two weeks ago I requested that a particularly large example be removed from the railway arches.
“The rail company responsible for the bridge didn’t even bother to reply to me, and so two members of town council staff went out to try to clear the graffiti off it themselves.
“This particular example was just too ingrained to shift.
“The team have removed a lot of graffiti on the route followed by the torch, and put in 16 hours over the last week in doing so, which is an amazing amount of time for dealing with something that shouldn’t be there in the first place.”
In June last year, police vowed to tackle the graffiti after the words words ‘wore’ and ‘nero’ were daubed on bollards, road signs, bus stops and buildings.
A graffiti wall underneath the Gladstone Road bridge was also set up by the police to tackle the problem, but Coun Noblet said not enough has been done.
He said the former inspector at Chippenham, Steve Cox, had promised a six-month review into the effect the graffiti wall was having last year, and demanded to know of current sector inspector Martin Schorah why this had not been done.
“What’s the point in having a date to review something if it’s not going to get done?” he said.
“Has anyone been arrested for this offence, or have the police sought to get intelligence about the perpetrators?
“It’s a disgrace and an embarrassment to our visitors coming to see our beautiful town in three weeks.”
Inspector Schorah admitted that he was not aware of the scale of the graffiti, but said criminal damage is only up by one per cent this year.
“The neighbourhood policing team do try to identify those who do graffiti, particularly in terms of tagging,” he said.
“I have not heard of a rise in criminal damage in the town from CCTV operatives either. I hope that the route from the torch will be cleaned up in time, and I would be as disappointed as anyone else if it shows up as the torch travels through the town.”
Graffiti constitutes a crime, and it is even an offence to carry a spray can with the intention of causing graffiti, as it is criminal damage.
To report a crime, call Chippenham Police on (01249) 709501.
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