GRAFFITI could become a thing of the past in Redbridge after the council unveiled a brand new weapon in its battle against the problem.

The wall of Elaichi's restaurant in South Woodford High Road, has become the first graffiti hotspot in the borough to be covered in a specially formulated magic' coating, which is designed to make spraypaint quick and easy to remove.

If successful, Russell Ward, head of Environmental Services, says the coating, produced by paints company, Seddon, will be rolled out to other heavily affected areas around the borough.

He said: "This wall was identified by the local Safer Neighbourhood's police team as being a particular problem area for graffiti, so we chose to cover it in this new anti-paint coating.

"The chemicals in this treatment make it possible to magically remove the spraypaint and any illegal posters using just a sponge and a bucket of water.

"We hope this will frustrate the taggers and lead to a reduction in graffiti on this wall."

Welcoming the move, Wanstead ward councillor, Michelle Dunn, said she hopes it will reduce the financial impact of graffiti on businesses across Redbridge.

She said: "Shops and other businesses around the borough spend lots of time and money trying to keep on top of graffiti on their premises, and if this coating makes it easier to clean off then it should be welcomed.

"It is great to see new ways of tackling this problem being tried out, because it's something that has blighted the lives of people in Redbridge for far too long."

Mr Ward said other graffiti hotspots in Redbridge likely to receive the new treatment, include the A406 walkway in South Woodford, and a shopfront in Snaresbrook.