A GRAFFITI artist has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage by signing his tag hundreds of times around Blackburn.

The tagger leaves the word Orak' usually followed by the initials SCK which is thought to stand for the name of a gang called 'Super Cool Krew'.

Between 20 to 30 tags have been removed by Blackburn with Darwen Council per week since June at a cost of £3,000.

Police are hunting the yob and have pledged to send a mobile CCTV van into the areas where he has struck.

The graffiti has been found on buildings in Blackburn town centre, Witton Park and Corporation Park.

Also targeted include the subway under Salford, BT Broadband Exchange, Jubilee Street, Fleming Square, The Mall building, and the Lloyds TSB bank building in Church Street.

It is not known whether Orak is a nickname or representative of something else.

Sergeant Rachel Baines said: "This mindless damage costs money to remove, which could be better spent in other areas."

Tony Watson, cleansing and amenities manager for Blackburn with Darwen Council said: "The council, working with local police and British Transport Police, uses a contractor to remove graffiti.

"The cost per day ranges from £350 to £1,000 depending on factors such as the type of building or wall that has been vandalised.

"Obviously the contractor is removing all sorts of graffiti, but this prolific tagger is creating a lot of extra work.

"Offensive graffiti is removed within 24 hours of us receiving a report."

Inspector Andrea Bradbury said: "We currently run a borough wide initiative called Wipe-out which aims to reduce criminal damage.

"Since the start of the Wipe-out initiative, all criminal damage has reduced by 27 per cent from what was an increasingly rising trend.

"However, criminal damage still accounts for 27 per cent of all reported crime in the borough and money wasted in tackling graffiti could be used to improve other public services."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Blackburn police on 01254 51212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.