A SHOP owner has been threatened with a fine is he does not remove graffiti from a store front – despite having cleared it previously.

Wesley Richardson, from First For Flooring in Lewes Road, Brighton, was told by an environmental enforcement officer from Brighton and Hove city council that the tagging must be cleared.

He now faces a £100 fine if the graffiti is not removed, or if it reappears within the 14-day period from when a community protection warning was issued.

Wesley has removed graffiti from his store many times, only for it to return shortly after.The Argus: The graffiti on First For Flooring, Lewes Road, BrightonThe graffiti on First For Flooring, Lewes Road, Brighton

“They’re doing everything they can to help small businesses, the Government, but then it feels like the council are just screwing you over,” said Wesley. “It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

“This is our fifth year now, and it’s been here pretty much the whole time. It’s on our shutter, so when the shop’s shut, the shutter is down, and they go crazy on it – there is tag, over tag, over tag, it’s just a mess.

“Within the first year of us begin here, we tried sorting it, but it was done straight away again, and now it’s just covered – but it doesn’t bother us, because we know it’s there, it’s always been there.”

The Argus: Tagging under a window of the Lewes Road shopTagging under a window of the Lewes Road shop

Wesley said he was informed by an environmental enforcement officer that the city council will work in tandem with Sussex Police to tackle tagging.

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove city council said: “Councils are not responsible for graffiti on private property.

“We can remove graffiti on public buildings, and asking businesses to play their part in keeping graffiti removed from their buildings is an important part of our drive to tackle the problem.

“Community protection warnings and subsequent notices do include the need to also remove any new incidents of graffiti that reappear within the timeframe.

The Argus: Tagging continues to be an issue on Lewes RoadTagging continues to be an issue on Lewes Road

“We’re always very happy to work with businesses and advise them of ways to help prevent graffiti reoccurring on their property.

“We’re also working closely alongside other organisations, such as the police, to ensure information is shared where possible to try to identify suspects.”

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "We continue to work with the council and owners on such issues, as part of our overall work against anti-social behaviour that affects the community."

READ MORE: Brighton graffiti suspects caught on CCTV

It follows the council’s 24-hour graffiti removal scheme, which saw them monitor tagging on London Road, Brighton, with the aim of removing it in under a day. The three-month trial concluded in January 2022, and saw over 200 tag removals.