'Disappointing and disrespectful' - councillor slams repeated graffiti in tunnel

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'Disappointing and disrespectful' - councillor slams repeated graffiti in tunnel
'Disappointing and disrespectful' - councillor slams repeated graffiti in tunnel

A COUNCILLOR has slammed recurring graffiti at a tunnel to the South Downs as “disappointing, depressing and disrespectful”.

Independent councillor Peter Atkinson has repeatedly contacted National Highways to paint over tagging in the Ridge Close underpass in Mile Oak, but said that the wall was covered in graffiti within a day of the work being completed.

Cllr Atkinson said: “This is just mindless and moronic damage to public property. It gives the impression that local people don’t care about their local environment which couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Local residents who have been in touch with me are angry and upset at their surroundings being destroyed in this way.”

The Argus: Graffiti reappeared in the tunnel within a day of tagging being painted over
The Argus: Graffiti reappeared in the tunnel within a day of tagging being painted over

Graffiti reappeared in the tunnel within a day of tagging being painted over

Cllr Atkinson has called for extra police patrols in the area to deter vandalism.

“I don’t particularly want to criminalise young people but this has to stop,” he said.

“It is senseless and very distressing for people, and also symptomatic of other types of anti-social behaviour taking place at this tunnel.”

The Argus: Cllr Peter Atkinson has called for greater action to deter vandals
The Argus: Cllr Peter Atkinson has called for greater action to deter vandals

Cllr Peter Atkinson has called for greater action to deter vandals

A police spokesman said that patrols around the tunnel in North Portslade have been increased as a result.

He said: “Tackling the issue is a key focus for the division, with a dedicated graffiti lead within the division’s neighbourhood policing team.

“These officers work with the community to gather intelligence that allows us to identify areas most affected by graffiti to ensure our resources are targeted as effectively as possible.

“We also work closely with our partners in the community to share information and highlight repeat offenders who can be pursued and brought to justice.

“As a division, we will be supporting the council’s upcoming, year-long programme of targeted action.”

Police are urging members of the public to report any crimes or concerns in their local area through the Sussex Police website, by calling 101, or by calling 999 in an emergency.

A spokeswoman for National Highways said: "We don’t actively remove graffiti as soon as it appears, as it’s a continuous attempt to remove and will regularly re-appear shortly after we remove it.

"However, the Ridge Close Underpass bridge has been defaced and damaged several times which we have painted over.

"We understand how disappointing this is for the local community and we urge people not to engage in acts of vandalism but as we’re not an enforcement agency, we can’t stop the offenders directly.

"We’re currently exploring further options to prevent the issue and we’ll continue to share information and work with Sussex Police to address social issues around graffiti.

"We do prioritise graffiti which is deemed offensive and will remove it within 24 hours."