Fine prospect for urban artists

MORE than one million square metres of Madrid are covered in graffiti.

Added together, it would cover 100 football pitches and graffiti costs the city council €6 million to remove each year.

Worst-affected of the capital’s 21 districts are the city centre, Moncloa, Puente de Vallecas, Arganzuela and Salamanca.

Least affected are Chamberi, Tetuan and Barajas.

Graffiti increases each year and the 54 teams whose job it is to remove it eliminated 109,956 instances of  it in 2012.

The council imposes fines of up to €3,000, but persuading ‘urban artists’ to pay up is not easy, council sources admit.  Many wait until the time limit for chasing up the sanction has expired, although 2012 saw 63 prosecutions compared with 42 in 2011.

A constant watch is kept to prevent would-be artists getting out their spray cans.  “They do great harm to Madrid’s image,” council sources said.

In nearby Alcorcon, the town hall is getting tough with the graffiti artists and is pursuing 34 of them through the courts for €34,108 in fines.  The council is prepared to block bank accounts, stop the amounts from salaries or confiscate possessions to satisfy unpaid fines, said a council spokesman.

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