Graffiti is any illegal markings which include drawings, scribbles, messages or 'tags' that are painted, written or carved on walls and other surfaces. Removing it costs taxpayers in the UK over £1 billion a year.

Graffiti on private housing or business premises

The owner of the property is responsible for its removal. If you live in a housing association property please contact your local housing officer.

Here are some tips for removing graffiti:

  • research has shown that the quicker graffiti is cleaned off, the easier it is to remove
  • prompt removal tends to discourage more graffiti
  • many DIY stores stock suitable cleaning products
  • some companies can clean graffiti for you - check the Yellow Pages

Graffiti on privately owned street furniture (e.g. post boxes, telecommunications cabinets)

The companies that own the street furniture are responsible for removing the graffiti.

They may not know it is there so you can contact the company responsible to ask them to remove it. Please provide exact location and box number if shown. Below are some useful contact numbers:

  • BT phone boxes 0800 661610 (you’ll be asked for the public phone number)
  • BT service boxes (often green) Quick dial 154 from landlines
  • electricity 0845 071 3953
  • gas 01689 886712
  • Royal mail post boxes 0845 774 0740
  • Virgin Media (taken over from NTL) 0845 454 0000

Graffiti on bus shelters or bus stop signs

To report graffiti on a bus stop sign, contact Oxfordshire County Council by emailing or calling their public transport team on 01865 815858.

Your local town/parish council is responsible for bus shelters in your area so you will need to contact the clerk to report any incidents of graffiti.

Graffiti on highway signs, speed cameras or traffic bollards

To report graffiti on highway signs, speed camera and traffic bollards (not street name plates) contact Oxfordshire County Council's Highways team by emailing or call 0845 3101111.

What is the district council responsible for cleaning?

The district council is responsible for removing graffiti from its own property that may include council owned public toilets, rubbish bins and some leisure centres. To report graffiti on property owned by Vale of White Horse District Council, please contact our waste contractors Biffa by emailing or calling 03000 610610 (local call rate).

Street name plates

The district council is also responsible for removing graffiti from street name plates.  You can Report a damaged or missing name plate online or call 01235 422344.

Removing offensive graffiti

We consider graffiti to be offensive if it contains any of the following:

  • offensive language
  • language of a politically/racially/religiously insulting or inciting nature
  • an image which is graphically explicit, visually offensive or textually offensive by the message that it contains.

Please report any offensive graffiti to your district council as they can, with the consent of the owner, arrange, at a charge, for it to be removed from private property (you can use the contact details for Biffa above).

Help prevent graffiti

  • avoid having outside walls painted white where possible - it's a canvas for graffiti
  • apply pebble dash type surfaces for walls rather than smooth rendered concrete
  • create shrubberies against walls to restrict access to wall surfaces
  • prevent access to roofs by coating drainpipes with non-drying paint available from DIY stores
  • secure fencing around the property to limit easy access
  • install security cameras
  • coat walls with a suitable graffiti resistant coating.

If you witness somebody damaging property with graffiti, call 999 immediately to report it.

Last reviewed: 24 - 05 - 2016

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