A NEW supermarket has been vandalised with graffiti before it has even opened.

The Co-op store is due to open in Kingsway in Hove next month.

But graffiti tags have already been daubed on the walls at the £600,000 supermarket, which is part of the multi-million pound Waterfront complex development.

It comes after Brighton and Hove City Council launched its Keep Brighton and Hove Tidy campaign, calling on residents to join in with a cleaning blitz in the city last week.

The city council is only responsible for removing graffiti from public property, or graffiti which is offensive.

Environmental enforcement officers can issue £150 fixed penalty notices if vandals are caught in the act and a graffiti hotline was set up earlier this year, which

residents can use to report graffiti culprits if they spot them.

A council spokesman said: “It’s such a shame this new development has already fallen victim to unsightly graffiti, but sadly not unexpected as graffiti remains a huge problem for the city.

“We do not have the budget or the resources to remove graffiti from private buildings – the responsibility rests with the building owner, not the council.

“We always encourage business owners to remove any graffiti on their property as soon as they are able and are currently considering how we might begin to enforce this as part of our proposed graffiti strategy.

“The graffiti strategy is due to be considered by councillors at the environment, transport and sustainability committee meeting next week.”

The Waterfront complex has been built on the site of the former Texaco garage site, which was damaged by a lorry and closed in 2016.

The nine-storey block contains 55 flats as well as the 375sqm Co-operative store.

A spokesman for the building’s agent Clarion Housing Group said: “We are disappointed the exterior of our Waterfront development has been vandalised.

“We urge residents and neighbours to report any sightings of antisocial behaviour to us or to the police if it constitutes a crime.

“We are working with our managing agents to have the graffiti removed as quickly as possible.”

Earlier this month, the Brighton Society urged the council to eradicate “as much graffiti as possible” in the city.

The group said the volume of graffiti has increased to a “shocking” level during lockdown, with new graffiti tags having appeared on Brighton Dome, seafront shelters and bus stops opposite the Royal Pavilion.