What to do about graffiti

Let us know about graffiti on public land and offensive graffiti on private property.

Removing graffiti and tagging in public places

Graffiti is anything that is written, sprayed or painted on public or private property.

Tagging is a type of graffiti where a name or symbol is written, sprayed or painted and is often repeated in different locations.

All types of graffiti are illegal without permission.

If there is offensive graffiti or tagging in public places, our street cleaning team will come and remove or paint over it.

Offensive graffiti and tagging contains words or pictures which are:

  • Hate comments
  • Extremist sentiment
  • Anti-faith
  • Swear words

We aim to remove offensive graffiti or tagging within 24 hours of it being reported to us. Please tell us about offensive graffiti or tagging if you see it.

We are also responsible for removing graffiti and tagging on council property and street furniture, including buildings, benches, signs and street lights.

If you are in a resident or community group, we have a community clean-up scheme which could give you supplies to paint over graffiti in your local area.

If you see someone tagging or have evidence against anyone daubing graffiti, you can report it though our environmental enforcement hotline.

Residents can call 01273 295063 to give details of the offence, and our officers will be able to respond quickly. 

The phone line is open from 7.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday, with voicemail to pick up any messages outside these hours.

Graffiti on private property

If graffiti or tagging on private property is offensive, let us know and we'll remove it.

If it isn't offensive, we can provide advice, but you will need to contact a private company to remove it. 

If you want to prevent and remove graffiti from private property, you could:

  • apply an uneven wall surface like pebble dash or flint work
  • cover your wall in trellis, iron work or climbing plants
  • paint your own mural on your wall
  • keep spare paint for walls - painting over graffiti is the best way of stopping problems
  • paint over a whole wall, not just the section - walls with patches of paint often get graffitied again

Graffiti on statutory undertakers’ furniture

We are not responsible for removing graffiti or fly postings from bus stops, train stations, railway bridges, underpasses, telephone boxes, post boxes or street cabinets.

  • for train stations and other railway property such as bridges, please phone Network Rail at 0345 711 4141
  • for bus stops please phone Brighton & Hove buses at 01273 886200
  • for telephone boxes please phone BT at 0800 661 610
  • for post boxes please phone Royal Mail at 03457 740 740
  • for Virgin Media street cabinets phone Virgin Media at 0330 333 0444
  • for BT (Openreach) street cabinets phone BT at 0800 023 2023

Community Protection Warnings

We’ve introduced Community Protection Warnings and Notices to help tackle graffiti on commercial buildings and street furniture.  

This allows us to work with owners to advise, monitor and set timescales to remove graffiti around the city.

If we find graffiti on a commercial property, Environmental Enforcement Officers will issue Community Protection Warnings to the owners.

This is in line with our Environmental Enforcement Framework and the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The process is:

  1. We send property owners a Community Protection Warning, with a timescale to remove graffiti.
  2. If the owner does not take action, we will serve a Community Protection Notice. This sets a specific date by which they are legally obliged to remove the graffiti.  
  3. If the owner then continues to ignore the Notice, we will impose fixed penalty notices. In some cases this may also lead to remedial action to remove graffiti at a cost to the business and/or prosecution.

Community Protection Warnings and Notices include a timescale of 7, 14 or 28 days. This is to ensure the owner removes the graffiti promptly. The timescale is dependent on:

  • size of graffiti
  • height of placement
  • whether the removal requires specialist equipment

Homeowners, charities and community run facilities are exempt from the scheme.

More information