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£1,000 Reward Is Put On Head Of Graffiti Vandals

December 8, 2000 9:58: A £60,000 graffiti clean-up operation will be launched in Kingston early next year, the council announced last week.

In addition to the blitz in February/March, a new 24-hour hotline for reporting graffiti is to be set up, and anyone who gives information to the police leading to a conviction will be in line for a £1,000 reward.

Around 100 residents turned up at the Guildhall last Wednesday to hear the boroughs multi-agency anti-graffiti group, set up earlier this year, announce its strategy.

The council pledged to work with other agencies to bring the vandals to justice and to eradicate all graffiti throughout the borough.

Feelings ran high during the meeting, with many residents angry about the impact of graffiti on their communities. But they welcomed the tough action agreed by the council, police and magistrates.

Peter Spring said there was a downward spiral of graffiti and welcomed any permanent solution which would once again see walls free of it.

Kieron Kirk, chairman

of Chessington Hall Residents Association, was keen to

pin police down on the number of youngsters arrested

and convicted for graffiti offences.

But Chief Inspector Paul Dowell refused to divulge this. He said: Prosecuting them is not the most effective way. Its part of a process.

Graffiti costs the council up to £200,000 a year, and Peter Spring, quality services manager of bus operators London United, said it costs his company £140,000 in clean-up operations every three months.

Councillor Dennis de Lord said residents needed to be reassured that resources were available for the new measures.

Carl Kember, of Coombe Road, New Malden, said after the meeting: Im encouraged to see so many people here. Its a very good strategy but I shall judge him [Coun David Cunningham] on one thing results, not at the end of March but at the end of June/July. For more on graffiti, see page 11.

By.Shirin Aguiar



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