A GRAFFITI vandal caught red handed told a passerby to “f*** off” in a confrontation on camera.

The brazen tagger in Dyke Road Park, Hove, was confronted by a furious passerby who filmed the incident on his phone.

In the video, the man approaches the vandal while he is spray painting on a park building.

The Argus:

CREDIT: Stephen Golds

When he realises he has been caught in the act, the tagger tries to hide his face before scuttling off – trying to put his spray can back into his bag.

In the clip, the passerby says: “Got you on film there, lovely.

“You know, that’s a criminal offence.”

The vandal chuckles and replies: “f*** off, mate.”

This comes after Brighton and Hove City Council announced it was considering new measures to tackle graffiti as part of a plan to tackle “the scourge of tagging in the city”.

As part of a “war on graffiti”, it is asking residents whether they think it should be charging businesses and homeowners to clean up tagging on their buildings.

Councillor Dawn Barnett, Conservative representative for Hangleton and Knoll ward, believes the vandals should be made to clean up the mess themselves.

She said: “This is wilful damage, this is not art.

“Shopkeepers pay their business rates and homeowners pay their council tax.

“Why should they pay again when their buildings are damaged by yobs?

“No, get the yobs themselves to clean it, that’s the only thing that’s going to stop them from doing it.”

Councils can issue fixed penalty notices for graffiti to the value of £75.

However charges under the Criminal Damage Act carry much harsher punishments.

If the value of criminal damage exceeds £5,000, the maximum penalty for those aged 18 or over is 10 years’ imprisonment.

Where the damage is less than £5,000, the maximum sentence is three months imprisonment or a fine of £2,500.

A council spokesman said it does not have the powers to make offenders remove graffiti.

He said: “It’s easy for people to claim the council isn’t doing enough to catch these graffiti criminals.

“It’s also unhelpful for them to claim the problem is simple to resolve because all we need do is catch the taggers.

“Catching graffiti vandals is extremely difficult as they normally only tag when it’s dark, where there are no CCTV cameras and use hoodies, scarves or masks to cover their faces.

“Even with CCTV, it is expensive to install and to monitor, and even if we identify a tagger, we do not have a database to identify them. To fund CCTV we would also have to take money from other services.

“When we do catch these vandals we try to issue a £75 fine, but, as the film shows they often run away when they see us approaching.

The spokesman added: “Catching the criminals is only one part of our overall strategy for tackling graffiti and the consultation we have launched is also a part.

“People must also understand that we are only responsible for removing graffiti from our own buildings and belongings.

“We are not responsible for removing graffiti from private buildings, and this is why we have set out a thorough consultation on tackling this growing problem.”