In this photograph a ‘masseuse’ sticker has been stuck to a traffic cone warning of wet, ‘sticker-proof’ paint intended to eradicate stickers advertising (thinly veiled) sexual services.

Talk about unintended irony!

Newham Council is spending £215,000 on anti-sticker paint in an effort to rid the borough of this kind of illegal fly-posting.

The council began work after residents complained. Many people were upset that the stickers make the streets look untidy, but the bigger concern was for children and young people.  A trial, in which the paint was found to be effective, took place earlier this year; now the paint is being rolled out in stickering hotspots across the borough.

The problem is not exclusive to Newham. Walthamstow Council reports that two people were recently cautioned for stickering on behalf of masseuses. Similar stickers are also evident in Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

Twitter users have shown mixed feelings towards Newham’s initiative:

Usman [@U_innovate]: “It’s about time!”

Baz [@baz_j]: “They’ll just end up on the pavement instead”.

Steven [@Mr_Stevo87]: “You will never stop that. Try setting realistic targets.”

The Tidy Britain Group estimates that £340m of public money is spent on combating illegal fly-posting. 

The paint, which prevents stickers from staying in place on lampposts, traffic lights and benches, is being paid for out of the £100 million Keep Newham Moving budget.

In the UK and Wales, the exchange of sexual services for money is legal. However, many activities surrounding it, such as public solicitation, owning a brothel and curb crawling, are illegal.