Graffiti is words or drawings that are written, painted, sprayed or scratched on the surface of any property.
We aim to remove all hate speech and offensive, racist and sexist graffiti within 2 working days of it being reported. Where this is not possible, it will be painted over. This covers both Council and private property (but to remove it from private property we need the owner's permission).
All other types of graffiti on Council-owned structures only will be removed or obscured when operationally possible.
If you are in a Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) property please use the form below to request removal. Please note there is no charge for this service for YHN tenants and the removal will be arranged with YHN.
Responsibility for removing graffiti
The Council is responsible for removing graffiti and fly-posters from its own buildings, street furniture or monuments. There is no legal time limit for doing this.
Other structures, such as telephone boxes, bus shelters and electricity sub-stations, are the responsibility of the company that has placed them there.
Graffiti on private buildings, both domestic and commercial, is also the responsibility of the owner to remove or obscure.
The Council can't remove graffiti from private houses and other private property without the owner's permission. We are now offering a chargeable service for both businesses and private residents who want graffiti removed or obscured on their property. You can book and pay via the link below.
You can also request a quote for a large area to be cleaned. Our teams will inspect the site and email you a quote. If you want to proceed just pay via the email link. Please note that we require at least 24 hours’ notice for any cancellations as this gives time for the crews to be informed. A refund will be processed once the cancellation request is received. We cannot guarantee that a refund would be granted if the cancellation is received with less than 24 hours notice. Please phone 0191 2787878 and ask for “Your Local Services” to cancel a booking.
If your own property has been targeted by graffiti vandals, we recommend that you report this to the police as criminal damage. Obtain a crime reference number and speak with your insurance company.
Graffiti on utility company property such as BT or Virgin Media boxes or electricity infrastructure, or on structures such as bus shelters or railway bridges should be reported directly to the company responsible for the asset rather than the Council.
Without permission of the owner of the surface, graffiti is criminal damage under section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971. Criminal damage is a recordable crime and should be reported to the police. Anyone caught committing damage could be arrested.
It is a criminal offence under the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 to sell an aerosol paint container to anyone under the age of 16 years. Aerosol paint is often used in graffiti vandalism. By banning the spray paint to under 16 year olds it is hoped that the incidents of graffiti will be reduced. The sale of age-restricted products is enforced by the Council's Trading Standards service.
If you know or suspect anyone committing criminal damage you can report it by contacting Northumbria Police on 101 or on the Northumbria Police website. If the crime is being witnessed in progress, call 999.
Powers to serve defacement or graffiti removal notices were repealed in 2014. The notices never applied to private buildings, only structures in the highway (street furniture (e.g. bus shelters, advertising boards, street signs, phone boxes, etc.), plant or other apparatus (e.g. communication junction boxes)), schools and property of statutory undertakers, visible from public land.
Local planning authorities can take action against graffiti on surfaces which are readily accessible to the public, which it considers to be detrimental to the amenity of the area or offensive under section 225F of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The local planning authority may serve a notice on the occupier of the premises requiring them to remove or obliterate the sign allowing at least 15 days to comply. If there appears to be no occupier, the authority may fix the notice to the surface.
If action is not taken within the time specified, the local planning authority may take the action itself and recover its expenses from the person who should have done it. Expenses cannot be recovered if the surface is on, within the curtilage of, or forms part of the curtilage boundary of, a dwelling house.
Local planning authorities also have powers to require statutory undertakers and bodies responsible for street furniture to remove graffiti.
If you would like to give us feedback on our website, please complete this short online form.