People fined for tagging and graffiti are now being made to clean up themselves as part of their punishment, councillors have been told.

The news came as members of Brighton and Hove City Council agreed to increase fines for graffiti to a maximum of £500 from the start of next month.

Members of the council’s City Environment, South Downs and the Sea Committee also agreed to increase fines for fly-tipping, littering and fly-posting as part of wider environmental enforcement measures.

Conservative councillor Carol Theobald said that she was happy with the increases but asked whether people would stop tagging.

She said: “I do feel that a fine is not enough. I’d like to see these people actually go and take their graffiti off the wall or wherever they put it and spend the time doing that so they know the damage they’ve done.

“It seems to me that most of them just have a slap on the wrist to say ‘oh naughty’ – and that’s it.”

The Argus: Graffiti Central Brighton

Senior council official Rachel Chasseaud said that she hoped that the maximum fines would deter people.

Mrs Chasseaud said: “Getting people to remove the graffiti is something that, working with the police, we have just started doing.

“We had one person who was caught – and that was well publicised. He has just finished removing graffiti. It’s something called immediate justice.”

Green councillor Kerry Pickett asked whether enough people were in place to enforce the increased penalties.

She said: “Has the council employed extra people to do this? If there aren’t enough people to enforce these higher penalties, it’s not going to work.”

Mrs Chasseaud said that there are currently eight environmental enforcement officers, a manager and an operations manager, with the budget raised from fines.

She added that if it proved necessary – and there was the revenue – then the team could expand.

Labour councillor Tim Rowkins, who chairs the committee, said that increasing fines was only as good as the enforcement.

He told the committee that, in the past six months, the council had caught three times as many graffiti perpetrators as it did during the same period last year.

In September and October, the number of fines for fly-tipping almost doubled compared with a year earlier.

Councillor Rowkins said: “Clearly, our efforts to ramp up the enforcement is paying dividends – and the increase in fines will hopefully lead to greater opportunities to enforce in future.”

At the committee meeting at Hove Town Hall yesterday (Tuesday 15 November), councillors agreed to increase fines for commercial fly-tipping from £400 to £1,000 and for fly-tipping household waste to £600.

Littering fines will increase from £150 to £300 and fly-posting fines will increase to £500.