CLAD in an all-white jumpsuit, a mysterious figure is single-handedly erasing the calling card of graffiti vandals in Park North.

Otherwise known as the phantom graffiti cleaner, the 74-year-old claims to have eradicated the territorial markings from as many as 20 bus shelters in the area.

His secret? Frustration tactics.

The pensioner - who wants to remain anonymous so he can keep surprising the taggers that blight the Parks and Walcot area - told the Advertiser that his daily early morning cleaning routine has forced many of the vandals to run out of spray paint.

He says that taggers are becoming so irritated their scrawl is only visible for a matter of hours they are giving his patch a wide berth.

And he has called on Swindon Council to use his frustration tactics on other problem parts of the town.

"I'm in my 10th or 12th week and I started with three bus shelters and telephone boxes," he said.

"I went and cleaned them first thing in the morning as I knew the graffiti had been put on the bus shelters during the night - that is the way you beat them, by making sure their tags are not visible for long.

"Once I got those three bus shelters under control I moved onto another three and so on.

"By about five to six weeks I had managed to keep 20 bus shelters clean.

"The taggers have run out of spray paint and they're now using emulsion paint or felt tip."

So far bus shelters in Shaftesbury Avenue, Marlowe Avenue, Kingswood Avenue, Dorcan Way, Drakes Way and Walcot have been graffiti clear for weeks.

Armed with hot soapy water and a bottle of WD40 the phantom graffiti cleaner travels round the Parks and Walcot in his car searching for any offending tags.

Once there he clears graffiti off in a matter of minutes and moves on to his next target.

He said: "The other day I was cleaning graffiti off a bus shelter and somebody waiting for a bus said I'm glad the council is finally doing something about the graffiti', but I had to explain that I didn't work for the council and I was doing it in my own time."

However, it's not just graffiti that the pensioner cleans up.

He sweeps up broken glass from vandalised bus shelters and has even found knives on his cleaning spree.

He is compiling a dossier of anti-social behaviour to hand to police.

Yet he believes more should be done by the council and the courts to stamp out Swindon's growing graffiti problem.

He said: "The council's graffiti team needs to change its working day so they are starting at 7am and cleaning off the graffiti as soon as it occurs like I do, because it works.

"But the courts need to stop rapping youngsters on the knuckles and get tougher by making them clean up the mess - it's the only way we are going to win the war."

A spokeswoman for Swindon Council said the council was committed to removing graffiti as quickly as possible.

She said: "The council applauds the attitude of this resident, who clearly takes pride in improving the local environment.

"The council is pleased that these actions are having a positive effect in reducing graffiti and is equally committed to removing it as quickly as possible, which is why an extra £100,000 is being invested to tackle the problem.

"Unfortunately, some graffiti is on buildings in residential areas.

"This is harder to remove than graffiti on bus shelters.

The machinery used to clean it away is noisy and could disturb residents if it was used very early in the morning."