A PROLIFIC graffiti tagger who has blighted one of the main gateways into Sheffield is being hunted by police.
The vandal has sprayed the name - or tag - 'Bloodaxe' on walls, bridges, signs and fences beside the railway lines leading into the city.
As quickly as Network Rail workers can clean the daubings off, more of the tags keep appearing. One of the worst-affected locations is south of Sheffield station, where there are several dozen tags, sometimes misspelt without the 'e'. One of the largest is 30 feet long, sprayed onto a wall.
Trains heading into the city from places such as London and Manchester have to slow down along the tracks as they approach to platforms, giving passengers a clear view of the vandalism and a "negative" first impression of the city, according to Sheffield Council.
British Transport Police is urging members of the public to come forward with information about the offender so they can track them down and bring the plague to a halt.
Graffiti by 'Bloodaxe' - a tag which first started to be sprayed a couple of years ago - is reminiscent of that once daubed around the Sheffield area in the 1990s by infamous tagger 'Fista'.
Real name Simon Sunderland, he was sentenced to five years' imprisonment as a 22-year-old for creating a trail of graffiti across South Yorkshire.
Network Rail bosses said the 'Bloodaxe' tag is particularly prolific and costs thousands of pounds a year to clean up.
The tagger has also sprayed the name as far afield as King's Cross in London.
Richard Pedley, community safety manager for Network Rail, which maintains track and signals, said: "Graffiti on the railway is a significant problem.
"Bloodaxe is particularly prolific. Clearly this person – and any others who graffiti the railway - is putting their life in danger and breaking the law.
"We are working closely with British Transport Police to identify the offender and will seek the toughest penalties."
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Sheffield Council cabinet member for communities, said: "It's a disgrace that one individual thinks they can blight our city with mindless vandalism."
* Anyone with information about 'Bloodaxe' is asked to call 0800 40 50 40.
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