Police patrols have stepped up after shops in Hampstead got etched with graffiti.

A number of shops including Tesco, American Vintage, Boots and the former Nationwide building got spray painted over the weekend.

Conservative Hampstead Town councillor Stephen Stark contacted police on Saturday night (March 25) after spotting the graffiti.

On Twitter, Camden Conservatives urged Camden Council and Veolia to "help clean it up ASAP" and received a response from the latter on Monday morning (March 27) saying it had "reported this with the local team to respond".

Cllr Stark said: "We think it's tagging because of the markings. They come along and they mark it then others come and follow the route. 

Ham & High: Several shops in and around Hampstead High Street were targeted by vandals at the weekendSeveral shops in and around Hampstead High Street were targeted by vandals at the weekend (Image: @Camden_Tories)

"It's damage to property, it's unsightly and not in keeping with Hampstead.

"People just don't want to see this do they?"

Conservative leader Gio Spinella cited the 'broken windows" theory, popularised in 1990s New York and which says signs of crime encourages further disorder, as a warning.

He was speaking after the Government launched its Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan to "revitalise" high streets on Monday (March 27).

Cllr Spinella said: "Taking action against graffiti should be part of that approach of zero tolerance because the small things lead to the bigger things.

"There's a cost to businesses, it creates a sensation of decay in the community and of course a sense of lawlessness.

"Graffiti as a tool of a political protest has been there forever but vandalism like this is antisocial."

Susan West, chair of Hampstead's Safer Neighbourhood Panel, added: "Removing graffiti in Hampstead is like painting the Forth Bridge. 

"Graffiti reappears within 24 hours of removing it and the same few individuals are likely responsible. Clean-ups alone won’t solve the problem.  

"Difficult though will be, I’d like to see more prosecutions to tackle the problem. 

"Graffiti blights communities and creates an impression that no one cares."

Jason Vickers, acting police sargeant for Hampstead Town and Highgate, said the team were alerted to criminal damage to "a number of occupied and vacant retail premises" in and around Hampstead High Street on Sunday.

He said together with Camden Council officers they spoke to store owners to address their concerns.

Ham & High: Police have stepped up patrols in Hampstead High Street after a number of shops were targeted by graffiti vandalsPolice have stepped up patrols in Hampstead High Street after a number of shops were targeted by graffiti vandals (Image: @Camden_Tories)

"Since being made aware, Hampstead Town Safer Neighbourhood officers have increased foot patrols in the area, in addition to our normal day-to-day initiatives," he added.

"The local policing team work closely with Hampstead’s councillors and Camden Council to tackle this kind of anti-social behaviour, which affects the community in a range of ways."

A Camden Council spokesperson said: “Tackling anti-social behaviour is a priority for the Council and we share the concerns of our residents about the impact in can have on our communities.

“We remove graffiti painted on publicly owned property as quickly as possible, with racist or offensive graffiti prioritised for removal.

"We also work together with the police to support businesses that are affected by graffiti such as this, including offering our services in cases where we can help with its removal.

“If residents see graffiti they can report it to us easily via the Love Clean Streets app.”


APS Vickers said residents and businesses with "any concerns" can come and have a chat with the local policing team at ‘Coffee with a Copper’ at Tania’s in Heath Street on Wednesday (March 29) between 12.30 pm and 1.30pm.