DROITWICH residents have expressed their concerns over what they see as an increasing problem with graffiti in the town.
Although the incidents of graffiti are not particularly great, many older pieces of graffiti have remained in place now for more than six months, and when it is sprayed on private property, the council has been unwilling to accept responsibility for its removal.
Droitwich resident Jeffrey Webb is annoyed at the levels of graffiti in the town, which he believes are on the increase, and he has tried to raise concerns over a large piece of graffiti under the Chapel canal bridge on Bromsgrove Road.
He said: “If it happened to your wall you’d remove it the next day, but these have been there for months. The council should be getting in touch with whoever’s responsible for the walls. They’re buck passing, and it’s the easiest thing to pass it on. This is a newly reopened canal, it’s only been opened three years.
“What a sight for newcomers to the canals to see when they’re entering Droitwich or leaving Droitwich. It’s not art it’s vandalism.”
Paul Furby, another Droitwich resident has had difficulties trying to get a piece of graffiti removed from private property close to his home.
He added: “Over six months ago, two gentlemen sprayed 15-16 pieces of graffiti on one night around Droitwich. The police did catch them and they’re taking them to court, but it’s six months I’ve watched it opposite my house now.
“I rang the council and they said it’s the property owners responsibility, and they’re waiting for the compensation from the people who did the graffiti to get it off the wall, so I’ve come up against a brick wall.
“No-one’s taking responsibility for it. I was asked ‘do you find the graffiti offensive?’ and my answer was ‘it’s all offensive to me’.”
Mr Furby has also noticed that many of the other pieces of graffiti from the incident have remained in place, and more is appearing across the town.
He added: “It’s under the subways as well it’s going from a small problem to become a major problem.
“At the moment Droitwich is looking great with the lido and the parks. It’s a lovely place to live, but when small things like this start happening It doesn’t take much for things to decline, and it can do downhill quickly. It’s only a small thing but it can grow into a big thing.”
The West Mercia Police website directs residents to contact the council if they see graffiti has taken place, which may be able to issue penalty notices and a 'defacement removal notice', advise residents on who to contact, or remove the graffiti at a charge.
Wychavon District Council has said that if graffiti is reported on private property and is visible from a public highway, it can request that the property owner remove it with either a polite request or a formal notice, and if the graffiti is considered offensive, it will remove it and recharge the property owner in some circumstances.
A council spokesman said: “We are not aware of an increase in graffiti in Droitwich, but if people do spot any they can call 01386 565018 or visit www.wychavon.gov.uk/graffiti-and-fly-posting-removal to report it. We can then investigate the graffiti and ensure that it is removed as quickly as possible.”
Anyone wishing to help the Canal and River Trust to clear away graffiti from towpaths, can contact the charity on 07900 276544 to join its Towpath Taskforce.