A GRAFFITI vandal has targeted a listed building – just days after renovation scaffolding came down. 

The Duke of York's cinema, in Preston Road, Brighton, is thought to be the county's oldest picture house and is currently undergoing renovation.

But just two days after the scaffolding came down on the side of the building, the newly painted wall was daubed with scribbles by a graffiti vandal.

Carolynn Rebbell, duty manager at the cinema said: "We are currently restoring the building to what it was like when it first opened. 

"Tonnes and tonnes of work has gone into making the cinema look like its former glory so to have it marred by graffiti is really disappointing.

"We've had a few pieces of graffiti before but I feel like the target of a fresh coat of paint was a bit more than some people could resist.

"We're keeping in good spirits and we're not taking it as too much of a blow."
Work has been taking place on the grade-II listed building since September. 

The tag is set to be "patched up" ahead of the opening. 

Ms Rebbell added: "It's going to look absolutely stunning, the balcony will be a lovely place for people to relax.

"It will look just as it did when it was built 100 years ago - it's such a Brighton icon."

Brighton and Hove City Council, which has recently declared war on graffiti, said taggers were becoming “ more and more brazen in their attitude”.

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

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

A council spokesman said it will be working with police to push for harsher penalties and, potentially, prison sentences. He said: “We support the police as much as possible in their investigations to catch taggers.

"This includes providing the police with reports of previous similar tags to ensure the appropriate prosecution takes place, as the more damage the tagger has caused, the more the fined or longer the jail sentence, depending on the judge’s ruling.”

A council consultation on what residents think would be the best way to tackle the “scourge” of graffiti continues. It can be found on the council’s website.