Greenpeace blasted over graffiti

The charity that runs the 'Keep Britain Tidy' campaign has launched a blistering assault on voluntary organisations such as Greenpeace for glorifying graffiti

A report by the environmental charity Encams accuses charities, along with singer Christina Aguilera, art buffs and advertisers of using "urban scrawl" to look edgy.

"Graffiti is a crime, it's as simple as that, and giving someone a wall to write on is like giving a burglar a house full of goods in which to practice breaking and entering," said deputy chief executive of Encams, Sue Nelson.

"All graffiti does is add to the sense of squalor and makes people feel unsafe."

The report, which claimed councils were paying around £27m a year to clean up graffiti, singled out professional artist Banksy, who Greenpeace employed to design a stencil for its 'Save or Delete' campaign.

Encams said Greenpeace was contradicting its own mission by working with the "self-confessed graffiti vandal".

"We are extremely supportive of Greenpeace, but they are trying to protect the environment and shouldn't be damaging it with graffiti," said a spokesman.

Greenpeace said it used contemporary artists like Banksy to highlight the destruction of rainforests. "We must continue to employ innovative ways of communicating if we are going to save the world's rainforests and the many animals that they support," said Greenpeace campaigner Brenda Ramsey.

Prime Minister Tony Blair is among 123 MPs to have backed Encams' zero-tolerance stance.

The charity is also also holding up community schemes in the London Borough of Kingston, Southampton and Belfast as models for others to follow.

In Belfast, the city council worked with residents to shift 27 sectarian murals and 7,000 metres of kerbstone paint displaying Unionist colours.

No such graffiti has since re-appeared.

Other organisations criticised by Keep Britain Tidy for using graffiti in exhibits include the Eden Project and the Royal Horticultural Society.

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