VANDALS have targeted a florist’s van, leaving it covered in graffiti and causing more than £4,000 worth of damage.

The graffiti has been scrawled across the van owned by Hove Flower Stand boss, Chris Woodley.

Chris told The Argus his van was first tagged last year and has been graffitied on a regular basis “many times since”.

The Argus: The van in Hove has been targeted with graffiti The van in Hove has been targeted with graffiti

He said: “The back of the van was graffitied two or three times in the same week. I had it cleaned up and special chemicals were used to clean it up.

“Around two weeks later, the same graffiti started appearing on the van again and I didn’t want to pay out to have it cleaned yet again.

“Since then, another person has come by with a big, black aerosol can and has done it all down the back of the van, and all down one side.

“In the time that’s been done, two or three others have targeted it too.”

Chris says it will cost between £4,000 and £4,500 to remove the graffiti.

The Argus: Chris said his van has been repeatedly targeted Chris said his van has been repeatedly targeted

The damage was reported to Sussex Police, but in a letter addressed to Chris, the force said it was “unable to investigate further on this occasion”.

Chris has run the flower stand next to St John’s Church in Palmeira Square, Hove for 25 years.

He says the area has “changed” over the last two decades and is calling on the police to be put on regular patrols to monitor anti-social behaviour.

The Argus: Chris says he wants to see more police on the streets in HoveChris says he wants to see more police on the streets in Hove

He said: “You see graffiti everywhere don’t you. I’ve seen a few commercial vehicles that have been targeted too and that’s people’s private property.

“It’s criminal damage. There’s no two ways about it. They aren’t inviting graffiti.

“It’s not a skip, or a bin, or a telephone box – it’s people livelihoods.

“I’ve been standing on that same part of the street for 25 years and I notice how the street changes.

“If you had local police bobbies, they would also notice.

“They’d notice new people who had moved into the town or the area. They’d known the vulnerable people, the people to talk to and the people to watch.”

Chris says he is considering buying a new van rather than paying thousands to have the graffiti removed.

Sussex Police said that due to a lack of witnesses, CCTV and physical evidence, it was not possible to pursue a full investigation.

Sergeant Joe Davis of the Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “We understand the impact anti-social behaviour and graffiti has on residents, businesses and the Brighton and Hove community as a whole.

“Tackling both is a key priority for the force, with a specific task force set up recently to combat graffiti in the city in particular.

“Our officers maintain visible patrols and gather intelligence to identify areas most affected by anti-social behaviour and graffiti to ensure our resources are targeted as effectively as possible.

“While Palmeira Square is not currently considered to be among the most at-risk areas for anti-social behaviour, we would encourage the public to report any instances so we can build an accurate picture of the issues in the community and respond appropriately.

“We will always follow up any viable lines of enquiry to investigate specific crimes but unfortunately, as in this instance, when there are none available a case may have to be logged until further evidence comes to light.

“Please continue to report crimes online through the Sussex Police website, by calling 101 or dialling 999 if it is an emergency.”

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