SWINDON Council has achieved a 100 per cent record for its target to clean off all racist and obscene graffiti within one working day of it being reported.

The council, which says it is determined to defeat the town's graffiti vandals, has invested in new arrangements and equipment to ensure that offensive graffiti is removed from all council-owned property within 24 hours.

The service now also extends to private homes.

Incidents of racist graffiti in the town are rare, but on Saturday we reported that swastikas had been daubed on the walls of Swindon College.

And in January British National Party member Mark Bulman was jailed for trying to torch the Broad Street mosque, during which he also daubed racist graffiti and swastikas on the side of the building.

The Advertiser has joined up with the council in the battle against the taggers. Earlier this year, we launched our graffiti hotline, whereby residents can leave information about the people behind graffiti.

The line has been red-hot and the information received has led to the council and police being able to track down a number of offenders.

We have published images of vandals spray-painting walls asking for your help in identifying them, and reported on cases that have made it to court.

They included 20-year-old Alex Smith, of Cornflower Walk, Haydon Wick, who caused £17,311 worth of damage, and Sean Keenan, of Laughton Way, who admitted causing just under £4,200 worth of damage.

The council is also working with companies to remove tags from roadside utilities boxes.

Agreements are currently in place with Royal Mail, Thames Water, Virgin Media and BT.

Another part of the anti-graffiti strategy has been to involve the local community in designing murals, which are then painted on to walls that have been covered with graffiti.

Cabinet member for the environment Coun David Wren said: "Racist and obscene graffiti, and those who write it, are not welcome in Swindon. The council is working in partnership with all parts of the community to make sure that it will be removed as fast as possible.

"I urge everyone to take pride in Swindon and responsibility for their neighbourhoods and to report these criminal vandals to the police. Those who are caught will be punished."

Labour group leader Coun Kevin Small said they fully supported the council's pledge but not enough was being done to tackle the problems.

"What is most disappointing is that this council has an opportunity to tackle the root cause of racist and obscene graffiti through the use of the powers that central Government have given local authorities to tackle aspects of anti-social behaviour," he said.

"The council need to look at the graffiti problem with a holistic approach, whereby the use of anti-social behaviour regulations go hand in hand with supporting those charitable and voluntary groups that help many of our most vulnerable residents prior to committing these types of crime."