A POLICE crackdown on graffiti in Exmouth has been launched with a cash reward on offer to those who help officers prosecute the vandals responsible.
The amount of graffiti blighting the town is on the increase, with about 10 recorded offences so far this year.
The most prolific tag, NKS and EDC, has been appearing on both private and council-owned properties, spreading from the seafront and town centre throughout the residential suburbs and along the Exe Estuary Cycle Trail to Lympstone.
Officers believe numerous individuals are responsible for the vandalism who face being charged with criminal damage if caught.
To tackle the issue, which has a huge detrimental impact on Exmouth with many businesses relying heavily on tourism, a multi-agency partnership has been set up.
To tackle the issue, the police have collaborated with the East and Mid Devon Community Safety Partnership and Exmouth Town Council, which have both pledged a total of £1,000 to the reward fund.
The crux of the initiative is public support with people urged to submit intelligence in order for officers to track the culprits down.
A cash reward will be awarded to those who give information which leads to an arrest and prosecution.
PCSO Kevin McCleod from Exmouth Police Station said the public's help in identifying the vandals responsible is particularly crucial given its "sporadic" nature. "There is no particular pattern to the offence in terms of location or timings," he said. "The cost of this type of crime is significant to local businesses and to the town and district councils.
"The hope is that the offer of a cash incentive will encourage members of the public to come forward with information, either directly to the police, or anonymously via Crimestoppers. We can't stress the urgency, for people to call us, enough," he continued.
"If people witness the offence being carried out, we want to hear from them on 999, so the chances of catching those responsible red handed, with all the kit, are increased.
"And we would like to hear from anyone who knows the people who are doing this."
He added: "Exmouth relies on tourism, which benefits the whole town, and graffiti ruins the look of the town for both residents and visitors."
Exmouth town Councillor Steve Gazzard, said the initiative has the full support of the council. "The town council is extremely concerned about the increase in graffiti in and around the town," he said. "It looks unsightly and as Exmouth relies very heavily on tourism it could deter visitors from returning to the town.
"The council fully supports this initiative as part of the partnership and it is hoped it will lead to the culprits being caught and dealt with."
Police can be contacted by phoning, 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on, 0800 555111.