Graffiti is writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on the surface of any property. It is an act of vandalism which is a criminal offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 and carries a large fine or imprisonment on conviction. For minor incidents an £80 on the spot fixed penalty notice may be issued.
The responsibility for removing graffiti falls to the owner of the property which has been defaced with graffiti. The will council remove graffiti from its own property, but does not offer a service for removing graffiti from private property.
Where graffiti is on items of street furniture - such as telephone boxes, bus shelters and telecommunication boxes - or on property belonging to some statutory undertakers or educational institutions, then the council has powers to require the removal of the graffiti by serving a Defacement Removal Notice.
In the first instance, graffiti should be reported to the property owner. If the graffiti is on council owned property, then please report it to the department responsible for that property - examples being:
Where graffiti is visible in a public place, and is detrimental to the amenity of the area or offensive, please report this to the council's Environmental Protection team who will work with property owners to secure the removal of graffiti. Incidents can be reported online via our Report It form.
Graffiti On Your Property
If your property has been defaced with graffiti, then depending on the nature and severity of the graffiti, you should report this to the police as an incident of criminal damage or anti-social behaviour. The police often have extensive knowledge of local tags (signatures used by graffiti artists) to identify the culprits and will likely require a photograph of the graffiti before it is removed.
If you require financial assistance in removing the graffiti, then you should contact your insurer, as this may be covered by the relevant insurance for your property.
Methods for removing graffiti vary depending on the type of graffiti and surface that it is on. The following methods of removal are fairly simple and economical - note that these methods are used entirely at your own risk:
|Type of surface||Suggested method|
|Painted surface||Lightly abrade surface, clean off residue and over-paint graffiti. This may require 2/3 coats of paint depending on the background colour and the darkness of the graffiti. DO NOT use paint remover, thinners, white spirit or methylated spirit, as this will attack the base paint.|
|Timber||Sand down surface with sand paper and re-stain.|
|Glass||White spirit or methylated spirit should remove most paints and marker pen ink. Carefully read the manufacturers instructions for use and safety information before use. DO NOT use abrasive materials or cleaners as these will damage the surface.|
|Plain metal||As for glass, plus some paint removing products may be suitable. Carefully read the manufacturers instructions for use and safety information before use.|
|Plastic||As for glass. Please note that some solvents may have an adverse effect on some plastics. Carefully read the manufacturers instructions for use and safety information before use.|
|Porous surface||Surfaces such as brickwork and concrete absorb paint meaning that graffiti removal is not such an easy task. Pressure washing the surface usually removes graffiti off these surfaces, but may leave a ‘ghosting’ effect.|
Sudbury Town Council offers a graffiti removal service, which usually free to residents of the town or otherwise chargeable depending on the location and nature of the graffiti. For further details on this service, please contact the Town Council.
Many of the parish council's in the district hold graffiti removal kits which are available for use by residents. Please contact your local parish council for more information.