Horrified members of a close community have expressed their disgust after obscene racist and homophobic graffiti was sprayed in huge letters across the neighbourhood.
Walls of houses and alleyways between the properties have been defaced in at least four different areas in and around Highwood Drive in Forest Green, Nailsworth, and shocked residents say that the expensive and hard work of removing the offensive and crude language will fall to them.
Gemma Camden, whose fence was defaced by the criminals, said: “It’s all over the walls of people’s homes in and around our neighbourhood.
“We’ve logged the crime with the police but it will be down to us to clear it all up, and we’re seriously considering getting CCTV to gather evidence and deal with this anti-social behaviour.”
Anyone who may have seen anything, or who can provide any details of the incident, which is thought to have happened between 9 and 10pm last Friday, should contact the police on 101.
According to official police figures over half the crimes reported in Nailsworth relate to anti-social behaviour, which graffiti falls under along with nuisance, rowdy or inconsiderate neighbours, vandalism, litter dumping, and other crimes which harm to an individual, to their community or to their environment.
In fact between January and December of last year 253 incidents were reported, or five incidents per week.
Shocked residents have taken to Nailsworth Chat & Information Facebook group to express their disgust at the incident, and called for parents to check their children’s hands for signs of paint residue.
Jonathan Duckworth, Mayor of Nailsworth has also expressed his disgust at the ‘hate crime’.
“This is outrageous, this is actually a hate crime – it’s obscene!” He said.
“Whoever did this might think that it was fun at the time, but it’s really not – it’s a horrible thing to have happened in our community in Forest Green.
“I will be contacting the police to see how they can deal wit it.”
Laws on public property are very strict and anyone caught doing graffiti can be arrested and prosecuted under the Criminal Damage Act 1971.
Offenders can go to prison for ten years or fined if the damage costs more than £5,000. If the damage caused is less than £5,000, criminals could face three months imprisonment or a £2,500 fine.
Additionally the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 introduced new powers for local councils to punish offenders and to help them clear up illegal graffiti. This includes on the spot fines of £50 to anyone caught doing graffiti on public property. These can be given out by police officers, community support officers or local authority officials.
It was also made an offence to sell spray paint to under-16s.
If a shopkeeper cannot prove they took reasonable steps to determine the age of the person, they can be fined up to £2,500.
Thanks to Nailsworth Chat & Information Facebook group for their support in allowing us to speak to their group members about this incident.