Writing on the wall for graffiti menace

A GRAFFITI charter is being drawn up in Ipswich to tackle the increasing rate of urban scrawl.The news comes as Keep Britain Tidy has today attacked graffiti on a nationwide scale claiming it makes people feel unsafe and leads to a sense of squalor.

A GRAFFITI charter is being drawn up in Ipswich to tackle the increasing rate of urban scrawl.

The news comes as Keep Britain Tidy has today attacked graffiti on a nationwide scale claiming it makes people feel unsafe and leads to a sense of squalor.

In the past two months there have been 32 reports of such vandalism to Ipswich council's Cleaner Ipswich hotline, this compares with 95 incidents in the whole of last year.

It is not clear whether this is due to increased awareness of the hotline or an increase in graffiti generally but the council is working hard to combat the problem.

A spokesman for Ipswich council said: "We are trying to build on the war on graffiti launched by Ipswich Borough Council and the Ipswich Partnership last year.

"We are trying to get local businesses to sign up to say they won't tolerate graffiti and will contact us immediately they find it."

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The council is also urging members of the community and homeowners to report any incidents of graffiti to the hotline because they cannot remove the scrawl from private areas without the owner's consent.

A spokesman for Ipswich council added: "Any help that Star readers can give us by using the hotline will be useful as we will act quickly to clear the problem."

A report released today revealed that almost nine out of ten councils in England think graffiti is a problem but fewer than a half have no hotline for residents to report it with 53 per cent lacking dedicated teams to get rid of it.

This is not the case in Ipswich where clearing graffiti is one of the key roles of the council's StreetCare service with five specially trained graffiti busters employed to help tackle it.

They aim to get rid of the graffiti within three days of it being reported but prioritise if the subject is racist or offensive in another way - clearing it within 24 hours.

The cost of such clean ups is not known as the Cleaner Ipswich hotline also deals with fly tipping and dog mess and the figures are combined. The cost to the tax payer nationally is about £27 million a year.

Anyone wishing to report graffiti should contact the Cleaner Ipswich Hotline on 01473 433000.

Do you think graffiti is an eyesore or is it artistic? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

It costs tax payers in England alone

Councils are also criticised for providing "legitimate' areas where graffiti is

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