THOUSANDS of pounds of Chester taxpayers’ money is being spent on getting rid of mindless grafitti.
That’s the message from police and council chiefs as efforts are stepped up to snare one of the city’s most prolific offenders.
Police have been trying to catch the culprit behind DAKA graffiti which has appeared DAKA graffiti, which has appeared in countless locations around the city, including on Chester’s historic rows.
Chester Inner Neighbourhood Policing Team recently released CCTV footage of the man they wish to speak to in relation to the offences and have now set about mapping all of the DAKA tagging around the city in a bid to catch the offender, believed to be in his 20s, whose antics have racked up thousands of pounds worth of clean-up costs, with the bill footed by city residents.
Police believe the suspect travels into the area by train and gets off at Bache station, Upton. Among the latest areas of the city to be hit are numerous signs, electricity boxes, bus stops and phone booths along Liverpool Road.
A Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) spokesman said: “Heritage crime is something this council takes extremely seriously and mindless vandalism as we are seeing here in defacing historic landmarks is inexcusable.
“It generally takes two to three days to remove a small area of graffiti. A recent graffiti attack in Northgate Bridge cost £2,000 of taxpayer’s money to repair as the council had to employ a specialist stonemason.”
Between April 1 and November 13 this year, 657 separate incidents of graffiti were reported to CWaC’s Streetscene team borough-wide, although not all related to the DAKA tagging.
Chester city centre councillor Samantha Dixon, deputy leader of the CWaC Labour group, said: “While this is not just an issue that affects the city centre on its own, it has been a focal point for these crimes.
“This individual has damaged the rows, which is a serious heritage crime, and has also desecrated the Hillsborough memorial with this graffiti. This is individual needs to be caught as soon as possible as these crimes simply cannot be tolerated.
“It has cost thousands of pounds to clear up these offences and now, hopefully, the net is closing in.”
Inspector Darren Griffiths, of Chester Inner Police, said: “Our community safety wardens have done a lot of work around this graffiti problem. There is a pattern of this in repeated locations across Chester and Ellesmere Port and it is something we are keen to stamp out.
"The wardens are mapping it to see if there is any times or dates for it specifically.
"The complaints tend to go straight through to the council but we have been kept in the loop about it."
Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101.