Graffiti boy removes tags himself under new scheme

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A TEENAGER who daubed Chichester city centre with his graffiti tag has ended up cleaning it off rather than going to court.

The 18-year-old took part in a new scheme being piloted by Sussex Police where offenders make amends for wrong-doing through community resolution.

Police arrested him when they discovered he had been spraying graffiti around the city.

Chichester District Council and the police had been tracking the graffiti and were soon able to link his tag to a number of different locations.

But rather than charge him with criminal damage, the council and police agreed to resolve the matter without taking him to court.

The teenager has not been named by police as he was not formally charged.

He spent time with Graffiti Solutions, which is employed by the council to remove graffiti.

He was able to see how hard it is to remove graffiti and how costly it can be. Removing the paint costs the Chichester taxpayer around £27,000 a year.

He said: ‘I didn’t realise how much time, effort and money went into removing it. I also didn’t consider that what I viewed as art, others viewed as vandalism. This stopped me from putting graffiti on buildings and I am now trying to give something back through local community projects.’

Piers Taylor, community safety officer, said: ‘We don’t expect community resolution to work in every case, but we have seen a real difference with this young man who genuinely wanted to make amends and put something back into his community. He thought his graffiti was quite good, but didn’t realise we receive calls every day from people reporting this as a crime. He also didn’t realise that we monitor it as closely as we do.’