THURROCK Council has announced it is ready to take legal action against property owners whose buildings have been defaced by graffiti vandals – even through they had nothing to do with causing the problem.
The legal action is described as ‘an absolute last resort’ but the council is making it clear it is property owners who should clean up after graffiti artists, not the council!
The authority is to write to private landowners whose property has been defaced by graffiti offering ‘support’ but saying they should remove the graffiti “as quickly as possible”.
A council statement says: “Landowners whose property has been defaced will receive letters advising them on the best way to report this criminal activity and asking them to remove graffiti as quickly as possible so it doesn’t encourage other vandals to target them.
‘Increase in graffiti’
“A council scheme to remove graffiti from public land and property has previously paid dividends with independent inspections carried out by Keep Britain Tidy showing a reduction in the amount of graffiti in the borough.
“However, the most recent inspection, in the third quarter of 2018, found an increase in graffiti with much of it being identified as being on private land.
“Although the council has every sympathy for landowners who fall victim to vandals, it must ask them to play their part in keeping the borough clean and tidy by tackling graffiti as it can contribute to making an area seem run down and neglected and create a poor impression for residents and visitors.
“As an absolute last resort the council has the power to issue Community Protection Warnings and Community Protection Notices compelling landowners to act but this will only be done when all other approaches have failed.
“Thurrock Council would like to thank residents and businesses for their support in working with us to prevent this kind of anti-social behaviour and improve our neighbourhoods.”