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Mayor left frustrated with ‘relentless’ graffiti in town

The Town Hall was targeted in a string of graffiti attacks. Picture: Imogen Shepherd-DuBey

WOKINGHAM’S town mayor says he is “frustrated” at the “relentless” graffiti in the town centre, after a Grade II listed building was targeted.

According to Cllr Tony Lack, a string of graffiti attacks took place in Wokingham from Wednesday, December 23 through until the New Year.

Tags were painted throughout the town, including on Wokingham’s historic town hall on Market Place — a protected building.

Graffiti also appeared on Peach Place, Erftstadt Court, Elms Field, Cockpit Path Car Park and Elms Road Car Park.

“Frustrated would be one word to describe how the graffiti makes me feel,” said Cllr Lack, “but I also feel for the youngsters who do it.

“They’re either making a protest or they want to become famous or they’ve got nothing better to do, so I am concerned for them.

“But they still make me angry and frustrated.”

Cllr Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, leader of Wokingham Town Council, is also furious about the graffiti attacks.

“It doesn’t stop,” she said. “Tags were appearing every day and they’re not Banksy, nobody wants to see it.”

Picture: Nicholas Campbell-White

Now she is concerned about the price of having the buildings cleaned, which cost £1,235 of the town council’s £7,500 annual budget for graffiti removal.

“The town council has a full budget, but it’s not huge,” she said.

“It comes out of taxpayer’s money, and we had to get the graffiti removed quickly – we didn’t want to encourage any more attacks.”

Because of the town hall’s listed status, Wokingham town council hired professional cleaners to remove graffiti from the building.

Because of the town hall’s listed status, Wokingham town council hired professional cleaners to remove graffiti from the building.

But Cllr Lack said he spent the festive period cleaning tags elsewhere alongside Litter Hero Andrew Le Breuilly.

“I actually went out and removed some of the graffiti myself because I want my town to look a bit nicer,” he said.

“I’ve had training in it, so I always go out and remove it where I can.”

A spokesperson for Wokingham Town Council says it is thankful for the volunteers helping keep the town tidy.

“Wokingham Town Council is enormously grateful for the voluntary work our mayor undertakes on behalf of all our residents to ensure our town centre is kept as clean as possible,” a spokesperson said.

“Cllr Lack has worked across the Christmas period and has been grateful for the support of local resident and Litter Hero, Andrew Le Breuilly, who has also given his time to get rid of the widespread graffiti, which has been daubed over the past two weeks. 

“Without such help the Council would not be able to clear so much as the cost would be prohibitive. The council and residents alike owe him a debt and publicly send our thanks for the care shown to Wokingham.”

Speculating on who may be responsible, Cllr Lack and Cllr Shepherd-DuBey say the string of tags may have been painted by one person, who was spotted on CCTV defacing the town.

“We’re not completely sure whether it’s all the same person, but it all seems to be the same image,” Cllr Lack explained.

Footage has been passed onto Thames Valley Police, which is now investigating the string of tags.

Now, the town council hopes to paint murals on a number of popular graffiti spots throughout Wokingham to try and discourage further vandalism.

Residents that spot new graffiti can email: amenities@wokingham-tc.gov.uk

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