'˜Graffiti spate is blighting our city and my life'

Widespread graffiti is blighting the Ortons according to a concerned resident who believes the problem is only a low priority for the authorities.

Sunday, 30th October 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 9:52 am
Mick Russell by graffiti around the Orton Waterville area EMN-161018-180557009

Mick Russell (81) of Bardney in Orton Goldhay said residents were “disgusted” by the persistent graffiti from offenders on walls, fences and junction boxes.

Mr Russell showed the Peterborough Telegraph some of the worst-affected areas near his home, and he questioned why people have to fork out to Peterborough City Council to have vandalism on their own properties cleaned up.

“Why should they pay for something they’ve not done?” he said.

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Graffiti around the Orton Goldhay area EMN-161018-180446009

“People are fed up with graffiti and fly-tipping. I would like to see the graffiti removed and a little bit more residential awareness to see who is doing it. It must take 10 to 15 minutes to do so someone must see it and they should report it.

“Unfortunately we have not got community policing like we used to have. I’ve been here 20 odd years and in the last 18 months to two years the graffiti has spread like a disease. It’s awful.

“Most people I know are disgusted by it. But the authorities give it a low priority.

“If they get it cleaned up the public will be more aware when it’s done again and they will be able to catch who is doing it.”

Graffiti around the Orton Waterville area EMN-161018-180530009

The number of reported graffiti incidents in Peterborough from January to October is 564, up from 323 over the same period in 2015.

Mr Russell added: “Some graffiti is artistic, but some is mindless.

“It certainly affects me. I do a paper round in the early morning and the first thing that greets me when I cross the road is a junction box covered in graffiti.

“There’s an elderly woman living nearby and the first thing she sees when she opens the window is graffiti.

Graffiti around the Orton Goldhay area EMN-161018-180446009

“It’s not conducive to have pride in the place you live in, and that’s something the council has been doing a lot of publicity on.”

Councillor Graham Casey, Conservative member for Orton Longueville, said: “In the past we have gone and painted over it but sometimes in 24 hours it’s come back.

“I want to find out who is doing it and why they are doing it. It’s an ongoing battle and it ballooned at the beginning of this year.

“I’m trying to ensure we engage with young people - speaking to groups of youths and trying to instill that pride in the area.

Graffiti around the Orton Waterville area EMN-161018-180530009

“We’re working with the police and the Prevention and Enforcement Service [PES] and that’s the stiff approach, but we are trying to do it through all methods.

“We have to do something about it because it looks a mess.”

The PES combines council, police, fire service and prison staff in tackling anti-social behaviour.

To have private properties cleaned of graffiti residents have to pay the council’s street cleaning partners Amey.

The council pays Amey a fixed amount each year of £35,400 for graffiti removal.

Amey’s policy is to clean non-offensive graffiti from council property within three working days of receiving a request and within six hours for offensive graffiti on council property.

A council spokeswoman said: “Graffiti ruins the look of our city and therefore it is a priority to stop people doing it in the first place through education, and to remove it from public property as soon as we become aware of it.

“Officers working as part of the new SaferPeterborough Prevention and Enforcement Service have the power to issue fixed penalty notices for graffiti and flyposting, therefore giving us greater resources to be able to tackle environmental crimes such as this.”

To report graffiti on public property for clearance residents can use the My Peterborough App or call the council on 01733 747474. To report criminal damage call 101 or the council, making a note of as many details as possible.