Police catch graffiti gang
PUBLISHED: 12:46 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 14:07 10 May 2010
A CRACKDOWN on graffiti vandals who caused thousands of pounds worth of damage, has led to 10 teens being arrested. Officers from Saffron Walden s Neighbourhood Policing Team confirmed 10 local youngsters, between the ages of 13 and 16, had been arrested
A CRACKDOWN on graffiti vandals who caused thousands of pounds' worth of damage, has led to 10 teens being arrested.
Officers from Saffron Walden's Neighbourhood Policing Team confirmed 10 local youngsters, between the ages of 13 and 16, had been arrested in connection with a string of offences.
Sgt Mick Ashton said: "We know there are still incidents going on in the town, but we have sent out a message that we will robustly deal with offences of graffiti and we will prosecute offenders when caught."
Of the 10 arrests made, four of the teenagers appeared at Harlow youth court, two have been reprimanded, three have received final warnings and with one, no further action was taken.
Graffiti vandals have targeted many sites around the town, including at Herbert's Farm on Debden Road, the Golden Acre Community Centre on Ross Close, Saffron Walden County High School, a bench on the Common and various road signs.
Police have shown that they will be tough on graffiti vandals, but Sgt Ashton believes youngsters can use spray paints without causing criminal damage. He is promoting a new initiative run by youth worker Darren Godfrey at the Fairycroft Youth Centre on Audley Road.
Mr Godfrey said: "At the youth centre we have put up graffiti boards, so people can graffiti without getting into trouble. We are encouraging the artistic content of graffiti and not the destructive side.
"Art is only art if it is done in an appropriate place, otherwise it is criminal damage. The graffiti boards have been up since May, but it is only recently that youngsters have started to engage with it. Hopefully it will have a positive effect and stop people vandalising the town."
Graffiti boards will be put up on Saffron Walden Common, and free to use, between midday and 4.30pm on Saturday July 12. Equipment will be provided.
Fairycroft Youth Centre is open every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for people aged 13 to 19. For more information call Mr Godfrey on 07813 086123.