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Paddock Wood shelter is daubed with wrong type of graffiti

By Paddock Wood Courier  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

  • EYESORE: Our mocked-up image shows how graffiti vandals spoiled Mascalls pupils' art

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A ROW has broken out over a new teen shelter which has been daubed with the wrong type of graffiti.

Paddock Wood Sports Association, which funded the Putlands field youth hub, is angry that special graffiti panels on the shelter have been covered with tags – including expletives and racist phrases – despite promises they would be used for murals.

Association chairman Ken Munday told the Courier this week: "The shelters are sold with graffiti panels. We agreed with the council youngsters could paint murals on them, but it's now been graffitied all over.

"We don't want graffiti on there as it will mean people can legitimately carry aerosols around the town."

The £7,200 shelter opened at the start of summer. It is contained in the Moletrap skate park and provides somewhere for youngsters to meet.

The town council owns the land and confirmed it had received complaints from residents over the unsightly state of the metal structure, but has refused to remove the graffiti.

A council spokesman said: "Members agreed they shared the concerns of the Sports Association, however if removed there was no guarantee the graffiti would not return. It was agreed that no action would be taken at this time."

The Courier visited the Moletrap on Tuesday and found the shelter covered with graffiti tags, just weeks after a project which saw Mascalls' pupils paint on artwork. Words scrawled using marker pens over the top of the pupils' work included racist and offensive language.

Mr Munday expressed concern over the council's unwillingness to act and said the association was considering asking for the panels to be removed. He also raised fears having a designated graffiti area would make the police's job more difficult, as anyone caught in the town with a spray can or markers pen would have an excuse.

Mr Munday said: "The association is 100 per cent against this. We're not happy with this at all.

"The council has not done what it agreed to originally. It is not good enough."

He added: "Paddock Wood has a lot of good young people, it is just a minority who spoil it for the rest."

Mascalls head teacher Stuart Reeves said he was convinced the artwork had not been wrecked by his own pupils and suspected so-called "graffiti purists" were responsible, who may have seen the children's stencilled work as inferior.

He said: "After we finished painting it, the shelter was trashed overnight. Our pupils were absolutely gutted.

"We have zero graffiti in the school and I can't see our children would deface other pupils' work."

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  • DGMBEM  |  November 24 2012, 9:58AM

    I am confused, graffiti is an anonymous expression of feelings vented by its creator in a public place. If an area is set aside for some public art then it should be protected so that it can be cleaned. On the other hand, put a perfect surface for paint/writing in an area used primarily the younger members of our community they would see it as a space for them to use, just what was expected? There is a tendency for the young to do or say things just to see the affect, therefore making use of more controversial statements/words should have been be expected. I feel that the proposition was poorly thought out in the first place, add this to demands for punishment will send a confused message to the young.

  • JuliusZsako  |  November 17 2012, 3:12AM

    He makes a good point - "by CasandraR" has hit a few critical issues about graffiti control. How can you stop crimes of graffiti vandalism, and why should you? You don't have to be a graffiti expert to see how graffiti offends most people. And unfortunately, graffiti is seen as a gateway crime that can escalate to more serious criminal behavior as documented at http://tinyurl.com/6wvs86r . As such, preventing graffiti is a worthwhile effort. Although severe penalties against graffiti vandals is a step in the right direction, it won't help much without some dedicated and inventive enforcement efforts. And leaving the graffiti up is a bad idea as it gives graffiti writers the visibility they seek, positive reinforcement for doing wrong. Graffiti control requires more than enforcement of harsh graffiti laws, and the prompt removal of graffiti vandalism. Graffiti control requires that our communities reach out to kids long before they engage in graffiti in order to foster attitudes that see graffiti for what it is. Graffiti isn't art. Graffiti isn't harmless. Graffiti isn't freedom of speech or just plain self expression that we are all entitled to. The cure for graffiti is prevention. We need to understand the psychology of graffiti writers who feel entitled to tag and damage our neighborhoods. Only than can we solve the problem of graffiti according to http://tinyurl.com/d5hs266 and other graffiti control resources.

  • CasandraR  |  November 16 2012, 4:30PM

    Until befitting punishment is given to these young offenders it shall never stop, they just have no respect for anyones properties or any public property. Making some of our old laws enforceable again may turn the tables and bring order back to the communities.