Cops seek help from pupils over explosion of Portobello graffiti

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COMMUNITY police are set to seek help from high school pupils over an explosion of “horrible” graffiti on the Capital’s historic seafront.

Local authorities and residents hope youths could hold the key over whoever tagged walls on Portobello promenade over the Christmas and New Year period after locals complained it was spoiling the area.

Local groups and the authorities are looking for help to stop the spread of graffiti; below, Maureen Child. Picture: Alistair Linford

Local groups and the authorities are looking for help to stop the spread of graffiti; below, Maureen Child. Picture: Alistair Linford

The graffiti, sprayed on the walls of the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home which backs on to the prom towards the Seafield end, reportedly appeared during the holidays.

It is understood community officers will now work with bosses at Portobello High School as they attempt to identify those responsible.

However, local representatives admit the council’s hands may be tied over the action they can take. Local councillor Maureen Child described the artwork as “an act of vandalism,” adding: “The graffiti that is there is absolutely horrible and has no artistic merit whatsoever. I can’t understand the motivation for painting that sort of material on someone else’s property.”

“Portobello benefits from some fantastic public artwork in the community, I would point to some of the murals in the nearby Figgate Park as a good example, but that was put there intentionally with the owner’s permission.”

She continued: “This is an act of vandalism and totally beyond the pale.”

Geoff Lynn, leader of Portobello Community Council, said police were hoping to enlist the help of residents to catch the culprits “red-handed”.

He added parents had been in touch with police school liaison officers to see if they can assist with the search.

City of Edinburgh Council is responsible for clearing offending messages which appear on council-owned premises.

The council operates an online system for reporting areas and buildings which have been defaced by graffiti, promising to remove “racist or offending graffiti” on a council building within one working day, or other work within ten working days.

However, on this occasion, the local authority’s hands are tied as the offending material has been sprayed on the wall of private property backing on to the prom, meaning they have no authority to clean it up.

The council has the power to force certain types of private landowners – including gas and electricity suppliers – to remove material, but not in this case.

newsen@edinburghnews.com