AN ANGRY Wordsley resident has claimed the rise of graffiti along Stourbridge Canal has made the area "look like a ghetto".

The man, who lives by the canal but does not wished to be named, said the amount of graffiti appearing from the Red House Glass Cone area towards the Stourton locks is increasing.

He said: “It's been going on for months and it’s only getting worse. The ‘artist’ has been leaving the tag ‘VIBE’ on the buildings and locks alongside the canal so I think it’s just one person.

“It's so beautiful down there and they are making the area look like a ghetto. It's unbelievable.”

“I hope someone can put a name to who’s doing it so it will stop.”

Ward councillors Paul Brothwood and Derrick Hemingsley said they are aware of the graffiti and have criticised the perpetrators.

Cllr Brothwood said he is trying to clamp down on the level of graffiti in the ward and only recently removed paint in Smalman Close.

“I think the rise in graffiti in the area is down to a number of factors and causes,” he said.

“There is a loss of PCSO’s and therefore a lack of police presence in the area. That together with the closure of youth centres means that young people have fewer places to hang out.

“Another big problem is that the tags look like they are all done by the same person, but the artists use each other’s tags.

“This makes it really hard for the police to identify which bit of graffiti has been done by each person.

“One of my colleagues in Halesowen, Stuart Henley, has used anti graffiti paint in parts of his ward where the vandalism is ripe.

"That could be an option for us to look into, but it is a very expensive and the graffiti will probably come back again as soon as it’s removed.”

Ian Lane, from the Canal and River Trust, said: “It’s really disappointing to see our wonderful canals vandalised with graffiti scribbles and tags as it not only looks unsightly but it also gives the totally wrong impression of our canals.

“Unfortunately whilst we would love to continually deal with the problem it is a never ending battle and one we do not have an endless pot of money to address especially as its removal is quite a specialised activity.

“Whilst we are open to offers to work with authorities to remove it, what would be wonderful is for the local community to help us as encouraging people not to spray in the first place.

“Everyone can play a part and it’s only with the local support that we will really start to win this war.”

Cllr Hemingsley agreed with Cllr Brothwood’s opinion that the rise in Wordsley’s graffiti coincides with the reduction in youth services.

He said: “I am not impressed with those who have carried out the graffiti or cause any damage like that.

“I am actively working with young people on improvements to Wordsley Park and in there we have two graffiti walls. Since they were put in we have had no issues.

“We need to identify those who have caused the graffiti and work with them to stop it from happening, but the cuts in youth services has made this a lot more difficult.”