GRAFFITI hotspots could be painted over by local artists in a bid to address Colchester’s problem with tagging and vandalism.

Colchester councilors have asked his firm to consider paying professional street artists to paint on walls in areas such as Hythe and New Town which are particularly affected.

A wider strategy involving the use of light sensors to deter people from spray painting walls and pressuring Greater Anglia for more CCTV and ticket screening measures at Colchester Town and Hythe stations, has also been suggested.

The suggestions were made by Labor adviser Lee Scordis and were welcomed by the Tory-led cabinet.

Mr Scordis said cabinet graffiti often reappeared just weeks after it was removed and the council did not have the resources to continue cleaning it up.

He said: ‘Graffiti is a threat that worries many areas of Colchester and my area, particularly in the Hythe and parts of New Town, is getting really serious and it’s always the same areas, always the same hotspots who get it.

“Certain alleys, certain buildings, they are tagged and targeted by these people.”

Mr Scordis also said Colchester Town and Hythe stations have no ticket barriers, which is why they are so heavily targeted.

Later he used the example of an abandoned electrical installation at Old Heath Recreation Ground, which was painted by an artist.

The costs for this project were cheap and the artist was happy to train others while working.

Darius Laws, the councilor responsible for economy, business and heritage, said a similar strategy of using artists to cover up graffiti had been tried successfully in Walthamstow.

He told the meeting: “They deliberately worked with the council and the owners of dark redundant corners and alleys and they designated them as areas where people could create art and, as you say, it meant that people kind of respected them and don’t come and tag them and ruin them.

He also said the driveway leading to the Dutch Quarter near Colchester Castle already had an area where people were encouraged to leave small works of art or messages.

Council leader Paul Dundas said: ‘I think we should find out and argue with Greater Anglia particularly the Hythe and maybe look at some fine enforcement.