POLICE in Huntingdonshire are set to use stop and search powers to confiscate spray paints from under 16s as part of a crackdown on graffiti.

The vandalism, which involves words, pictures and names (or tags) being drawn or scratched on various structures

POLICE in Huntingdonshire are set to use stop and search powers to confiscate spray paints from under 16s as part of a crackdown on graffiti.

The vandalism, which involves words, pictures and names (or tags) being drawn or scratched on various structures, is treated as criminal damage by police.

As well as damaging property, graffiti also has a significant impact on the image of an area, increasing the fear of crime and undermining pride in the community.

Cambridgeshire police have estimated that graffiti vandals cause hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage across the county every year.

To reduce the number of graffiti attacks, officers in Huntingdonshire will be carrying out test purchasing to ensure spray paints are not sold to children.

They will be joined by Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards officers.

Police will be also using their stop and search powers to confiscate spray paints from anyone who is under 16.

Chief Inspector Russell Waterston said: "Graffiti is often raised by residents as a priority at neighbourhood panel meetings and is something we are taking seriously.

"We are working closely with our council partners to make sure the problem is being addressed.

"Graffiti can lead to an increased fear of crime as people feel there is criminal activity going on in the area."

INFORMATION: Anyone with information on who is committing graffiti offences should contact police on 0345 4564564, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.