Retailers in an Essex town are being forced to clean graffiti from their buildings, or face being charged for its removal by the local council.
Basildon Council has announced the plans and is using one of the worst hit areas of the town, Wickford, to trial the scheme before it is rolled out across the district.
But retailers have labelled the scheme "unfair" and the wrong response to tackle the problem.
Nevendon Road Costcutter is one of the stores to have been contacted by the council. Manageress Gloria Martin told Convenience Store: "Although we're already clearing some graffiti off ourselves, charging retailers is not going to solve the problem. As soon as it is cleared off, it comes back within a few days. The problem is not going to go away until the kids are stopped from doing it. The council as well as the police should take some responsibility."
Another Wickford retailer agreed: "What would help is for the police to catch the people responsible and stop it happening in the first place."