NEIGHBOURS in Sudbury Town are calling on shops to stop selling a tobacco chew called paan that stains pavements red.
When paan is spat out, it dries and leaves a dark-red, blood-like stain, which is very difficult and costly to remove.
Residents are so concerned they recently formed Sudbury Town Residents' Association, which met on Saturday to discuss ways of keeping the area clean.
Renu Kaul, who is part of the group, said: "We have noticed over the last six months an increase in this offensive substance on the streets and door fronts of Sudbury Town shopping parade.
"The pavements and the doorways, walls, phone booths and bus stops are all stained with this red substance and it requires specialist cleaning which is very expensive, especially in these hard times.
"I find spitting offensive but spitting this red substance which cannot be washed away is unacceptable."
Some of the ingredients are also sold in Wembley under the following names: Kimam, Manikchand, RMD, Zee, Vimal, Miraj, Budha Lal and Chuna.
Spitting paan on the streets is illegal and can lead to a fine of £80 for criminal damage.
Brent Council began a campaign last year to clamp down on people chewing paan. Tobacco and betel nut in the leaf are also harmful to the user's health because they are highly addictive and can increase the risk of oral cancer by almost 10 times.
It can also cause serious problems with speech, swallowing, chewing and facial disfiguring.
Mrs Kaul added: "We need to try and persuade shops to come on board to put up the No Spitting Paan posters at a prominent position in the front of their shops and for them to educate their customers not to spit.
"Secondly, we need to increase the neighbourhood police team patrols and ask them to cover the hotspots late into the evening on weekends dressed in plain clothes.
"A long-term strategy would be to try and get schools to start an awareness programme in educating all schoolchildren about the health risk in chewing paan."