STREET poet and artist Danny Lake has been threatened with an Asbo for decorating town centre pavements with his brightly-chalked verses and musings.

Like a lot of Swindon people who heard about this, I’m a wee bit bewildered.

Had he been using spray paint, indelible markers or a hammer and chisel, I could understand the heavy duty threats.

The same would apply if he were writing not his thought-provoking verses but off-colour limericks such as the one whose closing line is: “And thought it was Anchor’s best butter.”

Or the one that ends: “She gave a cough, her leg fell off, and floated down the river.”

Or even the one about the boy standing on the burning deck, eating red hot scallops.

But I digress. The point is that like a lot of people who regularly visit the town centre and support some of its shops, I can think of things that bother me a hell of a lot more than pavement poetry done in chalk.

There’s real graffiti for a start – the stuff that actually is done in spray paint, permanent marker or with a hammer and chisel.

Admittedly I’ve never seen any town centre graffiti done with a hammer and chisel, but at least one vandal seems to have taken a hammer to the stone lion at some point.

Another indignity the lion suffered a while back, incidentally, was having some wit tuck an entire chocolate Swiss roll under its hindquarters, as if this proud symbol of Swindon’s heritage had had an embarrassing accident. The Swiss roll in question remained in place for days.

I daresay tracking down taggers and vandals would be a bit more difficult than tracking down a chalk artist who works in plain sight, but it would do wonders for the appearance of the town.

Another thing the folks in charge might want to turn their attention to is the disturbing number of empty shops. Perhaps landlords should be contractually obliged to let such properties at peppercorn rents.

Again, this would be a bit harder than serving an Asbo notice to a chalk-wielding versifier, but it would make the area a lot less like a location for a grim drama about urban decay.

So would ridding the place of the people who do things a lot more antisocial than chalking colourful words on pavements.

Fully enforcing some of the existing Asbos against drunks who threaten, intimidate and demand money from passers-by would be especially useful.

It’s all very well trumpeting about the occasional person finally being punished after their umpteenth breach, but others can usually be spotted on any given day – and if they’re not actually in the town centre they’ll be just outside the exclusion zone, conducting business as usual.

While we’re at it, it’d be nice to walk about in the Regent Street area without being invited to claim compensation for an accident, join a dodgy religion run by a foreign billionaire or hand over my cash to a ropey ‘charity’ whose bosses all seem to be doing very nicely.

Once these issues have been addressed, such matters as the pros and cons of street art might be considered.

We’re told, incidentally, that there have been numerous complaints from businesses and individuals about Mr Lake and his work.

I’d be curious to learn the identities of those complainers.

They wouldn’t happen to be the ones who put the boot into a perfectly lovely flower stall a while back, would they?