'Report graffiti and vandalism', police urge Budleigh residents

The graffiti at Budleigh Salterton skatepark

The graffiti at Budleigh Salterton skatepark - Credit: EDDC

Budleigh Salterton residents who are concerned about a spate of vandalism, graffiti and anti-social behaviour are being urged to report it to the police. 

Last week graffiti was scrawled over the skatepark and paths on the Green – and Budleigh district councillor Tom Wright said these were not isolated incidents. 

He said youths had been gathering at the shelter on the seafront and leaving broken glass, bottles and cans, and possible drug paraphernalia, and that ‘idiots’ had set fire to waste bins in the town. 

He said: “I have become very concerned about the rise in vandalism throughout Budleigh, not just along the sea front. 

“But I want to stress that it is an absolute minority who ruin it for everybody. We’re very fortunate in Budleigh – the vast majority of people really take pride in the place, as I do.” 

Cllr Wright, a former senior officer with Thames Valley Police, said he was all too aware of the ‘broken window theory’ that visible evidence of anti-social behaviour creates an environment that encourages further crime and disorder. 

Yet he said residents are no longer reporting the incidents to police because they feel no action will be taken. 

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Devon and Cornwall police say that is not the case. The Neighbourhood Team Leader for East and Mid Devon, Sergeant Richard Stonecliff, said they recognise the ‘huge impact’ of graffiti and anti-social behaviour on people’s wellbeing, and that it is ‘vital’ to report it so that officers can collate evidence. 

 He said: “It is vital that our communities report this to us to both allow us to tackle this issue, but also to help us form an intelligence picture of what is happening within our communities which allows us to place our resources appropriately.” 

He asked residents to take photos of graffiti or criminal damage and email it to 101@dc.police.uk with details of date and location.. 

“Not only will this help us understand how widespread this issue is, but we also collate these images, especially where that has been tagging, to help formulate a case and to charge a suspect in relation to all offences where criminal damage has been recorded, so it is vital that this is reported to the police.”