Exeter police aiming to clean up prolific 'Kingz' graffiti artist
POLICE are appealing for information about a growing graffiti problem in Exeter.
The tag Kingz has been spray-painted on walls across various wards in the city and councillors and police have been inundated with complaints from residents.
Parts of the city particularly badly hit are Newtown and Polsloe.
PC Gary Wall, neighbourhood beat manager for Heavitree, Polsloe and Whipton Barton, said: "I can't stand graffiti, it looks horrendous.
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"Exeter is a lovely city and people coming in and driving through it don't want to be confronted by this.
"This Kingz tag is appearing a lot – it may not be anything to do with the culprit's name but someone must know who he or she is."
The police will prosecute those caught. A recent prolific tag in the city turned out to be the work of someone from Newton Abbot.
PC Wall said: "Those found guilty may be told to clean off the tags or be fined. There may be a reward for information which leads to a conviction."
Robert Norley, the city's assistant director for environment, raised the issue of tagging and graffiti at a meeting of the anti-social behaviour action team, ABAT, and a new group has been set up to deal with the problem.
Mr Norley said: "I wanted to raise this as an issue as I want to nip it in the bud.
"If you compare Exeter with other cities it is very good, but we do have a blip in certain areas of the city.
"ABAT is a multi-agency group which includes the police and going forward we will be sharing photographs of graffiti and tags, cataloguing them and will focus on the top offenders.
"For those caught as a young adult and prosecuted, they would have a criminal record which could have repercussions for them in their future life."
Mr Norley said the sale of spray paint will also be looked at.
He added: "There are restrictions and we will be looking to see how we can undermine the sale to under age people.
"Cleaning it off is not the solution – we need to prevent it happening in the first place so we will be looking to work with schools to deter people."
Richard Westlake, county councillor for Newtown and Polsloe, said: "Our area has certainly been particularly targeted in the last four weeks.
"I saw a chap removing graffiti from posts and phone boxes and it was back within a fortnight.
"I think Mr Norley is right that it is localised and I know people are getting very fed up with it. It causes damage and costs the local authority and residents to remove it. It makes an area look shabby."
Call police on 101 about tags or graffiti or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.