Two graffiti-busting vigilantes are tackling vandalism on a Sheffield estate one tag at a time – and want to help other residents to do the same.
Dave Ogle and Gary Lakin, of Friends of High Green Streets and Parks community group, have been fighting a battle against spray paint for the last two years.
The pair have created their own graffiti removal kit – complete with a pressure washer hooked up to a generator.
And they are now offering to train other community groups to do the same.
Dave said: “We’ve cleaned up hundreds of graffiti tags and it has made a difference.
“It’s become a big problem here and the place used to be covered in it. We were doing lots of litter picks which is why we noticed it.
“We’ve tried reporting it to the council but they can’t always get around to it.
“Mortomley Park was bad, so one day I just took some graffiti remover up there.
“We didn’t have the pressure washer back then so I did it all by hand but afterwards it did look so much better.”
Dave, aged 49, a self-employed security fitter, and Gary, 45, a self-employed builder, give up hours of their time to clean up after vandals in High Green.
They are hoping to encourage other people to do the same and rid the city of illegal graffiti.
Gary said: “It makes the area look that little bit better and it’s the little things that bring the whole community together.
“If it had any artistic merit we would leave it there but none of it does.”
David added: “As a community group you can get lots of little grants and we’ve been doing this for a while, so if people come to us we can help them rather than them learning it all themselves. We can recommend what solutions to use and you’ll need to set up as an eligible community group before you can apply for funding, but we can help with that too.
“We’ll also show people how to do it and help them find equipment.”
Dave said the start-up cost of buying equipment was around £600 but removal now only costs the group £1 per square metre.
The initial funding came from Angram Bank TARA in High Green.
Dave said: “People have asked ‘Why are you bothering?’ but we are winning the war – there’s definitely less graffiti than when we started.
“They’ve given up because as soon as they put something up, we take it off.”
He said he had even cleaned up his own first and last name – and an expletive – from a wall.
He said: “I was tempted to leave that one! We’re obviously getting through to people. It is working.”
n Contact Dave Ogle on firstname.lastname@example.org.