THIRTY SIX trains on the Alicante local network have been targeted by graffiti vandals so far this year, with RENFE having to spend €500,000 to clean them afterwards.
Across the Valencian Community 129 trains have been spray painted, which is 6 per cent of the national total.
The cost to Renfe in the Valencian Community has been €1.5 million in the first nine months of the year. This is the price paid for cleaning, paints, solvents, workshop visits and staff costs.
Ninety per cent of these attacks were on the suburban service. The number of graffiti artists’ actions fell by 10 per cent in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2018.
Last year, the company allocated €15 million at a national level for the cleaning of graffiti on trains, in addition to the more than €10 million spent on surveillance and security at stations. This money would be enough to buy three new suburban trains every year, or a new AVE high speed train every two years.
Renfe’s security department collaborates with police, providing information and identifying graffiti artists. Frequently, the actions of the company’s surveillance personnel allow police to surprise the graffiti artists in the act.
Relatively few numbers of graffiti artists can cause damage that runs into the tens of thousands worth of euros.
The Euro Weekly News recently reported that Guardia Civil arrested a group of four graffiti artists in Spain who are part of a network that has caused €6 million worth of damage to trains across Europe.
Officers believe the group could be linked to spray-paint vandalism of 2,000 train carriages both in Spain (Cantabria, Asturias, Burgos, Basque Country, Valencia, Madrid, Balearic Islands) and in other European countries (Italy, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Holland, France and Sweden).
Three men and one woman aged between 26 and 28 have been arrested, two in Burgos, another in Bizkaia and the fourth in Toledo.
Police say the men would paint the graffiti, while the woman organised trips and took photos of the graffiti.