FURIOUS traders have condemned graffiti vandals who are targeting Stroud.

For the past month, recurring tags, including a blue eye symbol, the letters ‘TIST’ and the numbers ‘616’ have appeared in many locations around the town.

And the words ‘War is peace’ from George Orwell’s novel 1984 have been daubed in the alley way linking Lansdown with Locking Hill.

Andrew Watton of Stroud Chamber of Trade said: “It is deeply frustrating.

"We want to keep the town looking good, but there are areas that have been repainted and then they’ve done it again.”

Tony Davey, chairman of Stroud Chamber of Trade said: “There is reasonable evidence to show that graffiti can have a detrimental impact, because it affects the overall look and feel of the town and how people feel when they visit it.”

Members of the chamber discussed the matter with PC Ian Tucker of Stroud Police at their last meeting.

PC Ian Tucker urged them to report incidents so that they could be investigated.

“He confirmed that it is helpful for us to photograph instances of graffiti, before it is covered over or removed by property owners, and send this to the police,” said Mr Davey.

“This helps their evidence trail.

"Without this there is a lack of evidence of the volume of incidents that both serves to prevent appropriate resource allocation and focus efforts.

In a statement Stroud Town Council said that it was increasingly concerned about the repeated damage and destruction caused by this ‘mindless damage’ to both public and private property.

And the town’s mayor Kevin Cranston has slammed the latest spree of spray painting, describing the diversion of much needed council cash towards the clean up as ‘heart-breaking’.

“We will continue to remove as much graffiti as possible from our parks,” he said.

“However, our resources are limited and it’s heart-breaking that we need to cover the cost of repairing and cleaning up damage caused by vandals with funds that could be put to better use for our community.

“We don’t specifically record the clean up costs, but it is taking up a lot of our staff time, which could be more usefully expended.”

Just this week the town’s Green Spaces team have repainted the timber of the little pavilion in Park Gardens, opposite the Co-op on Slad Road, as a result of the vandalism.

And the town council said is currently looking at specialist companies to clean the paint from stone and brick work in various locations.

“The stone and brickwork is porous and so the paint does not easily come off,” said a council spokesman.