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Graffiti artists should be slapped with huge fines, Spalding councillors say





It’s time to get tough on grotty graffiti by hitting culprits with fines of thousands of pounds, councillors say.

Spalding has seen an increase in unsightly vandalism in recent weeks, including town-centre buildings and commissioned street art being defaced.

Now fed-up local representatives had had enough and say it’s time to start hitting offenders in the pocket.

Offensive graffiti at St Paul's skate park
Offensive graffiti at St Paul's skate park
Th Zabne tag at the St Paul's skate park
Th Zabne tag at the St Paul's skate park

A number of car parks and prominent buildings have been hit by tags – where vandals spray paint or ink their pseudonyms – in recent weeks, while other well-loved murals produced by street artist Karl Barfoot, who goes by the name Honr, and pals have also been ruined.

“There has been an increase in graffiti recently, in and around Spalding, which I don’t like to see,” Coun Gary Taylor told Spalding Town Forum on Tuesday.

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“It’s not art. We know what public art is and we support that.

How the Westons Farm Supplies building looks now
How the Westons Farm Supplies building looks now
The mural on the Westons Farm Supplies building before it was tagged
The mural on the Westons Farm Supplies building before it was tagged

“This isn’t art, it’s vandalism to private property, council property and it leads to fines and prosecutions.

“Somebody’s responsible for this. We need some prosecutions, the maximum that can be issued.

“There are serious penalties and the message is that we need to find who’s responsible as we can’t accept this as a way of life.”

The St Paul's skate park fish mural has been defaced
The St Paul's skate park fish mural has been defaced
How the St Paul's skate park fish mural looked before being defaced
How the St Paul's skate park fish mural looked before being defaced

As part of South Holland District Council’s enviro-crime crackdown, anyone caught daubing graffiti onto buildings will be fined £150, although if convicted through the courts that amount can rise significantly to £2,500.

Forum chairman Rob Gibson who, along with Coun Manzur Hasan, enlisted street artists Karl and Adam Sadd to give the town’s St Paul’s skate park a makeover last year, was particularly angry to see that site and mural on the rear of the Westons Farm Supplies building be scrawled over.

Predominant on both sites is the tag ‘Sure’.

Unappealing tags blot the St Paul's skate park
Unappealing tags blot the St Paul's skate park
Eyesore graffiti at St Paul's skate park
Eyesore graffiti at St Paul's skate park

“I’ve driven around taking pictures of somebody called ‘Sure’ who has decided to go over the top of the good art we’ve got,” he said..

“We’ll push hard and people like this, we’ll try to locate who they are and push for the maximum fine to be levied against them.”

Coun Taylor added that ‘some very good, very impressive artwork has been ruined by this’.

Another Zane tag, this time in a town centre car park
Another Zane tag, this time in a town centre car park
Tags blot the town, including at Spalding's Prior's Oven pub
Tags blot the town, including at Spalding's Prior's Oven pub

In a bid to battle graffiti, South Holland District Council’s community wardens have been actively visiting premises in Spalding and Holbeach asking businesses to clean daubings on their properties.

At a previous SHDC meeting, Coun Bryan Alcock raised concerns that the owners of these buildings, that were actually victims of this crime, ended up footing the bill.

However, speaking on Tuesday evening, Coun Taylor stressed that cleaner streets made members of the public feel safer.

The Spalding Guardian and Lincs Free Press building is one of many to have had graffiti removed in recent weeks
The Spalding Guardian and Lincs Free Press building is one of many to have had graffiti removed in recent weeks
This tag on HSBC was quickly cleaned
This tag on HSBC was quickly cleaned

“Graffiti is accepted as a way of life in some cities, and it’s often tags, tags connected to gangs and serious criminal activity,” he said.

“We notice that connection with clean streets and safe streets, people feel safe in graffiti-free areas in cities.

“There's a role to play for all of us, (we’d like) private businesses to take photographs, log evidence, but do remove it as soon as possible.

Town centre tags make the town look ugly
Town centre tags make the town look ugly
The astronaut design on Westons Farm Supplies has been scrawled over by these lazy designs
The astronaut design on Westons Farm Supplies has been scrawled over by these lazy designs

“We need to gather evidence and move away from turning a blind eye or accepting it.

“Dealing with it needs to be a priority because we’re talking about heritage, assets and what’s good in our local area. This doesn’t seem to be an issue in rural areas at the minute - it seems to be a Spalding issue.”

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