OK, since last we spoke on this subject I've done a lot of playing around with the system settings.
I think we can all agree that this issue will never go away completely, if there was an easy answer to all this we would have done it already and every time we put in a counter measure to stop it they find away around it.
So my focus has been to "Limit" the spam as much as possible, I have done this by making it so that newly registered members can only post in the introducing forum, once they have taken the time to introduce themselves we will manually raise their user lever to a regular user allowing them access to the rest of the site (I should point out they can still read the entire site apart from the members area but cannot post to it) I've seen a great reduction since I implemented this and I'm hoping it's put some of them off.
stage 2 of my plan has been in effect for a while now and is also working well, this is where I use the Forums word filter to identify and replace Key words used in the spam with either "SPAM!" or "Down with SPAM!" if you have been lucky enough to catch any of the spam over the last month you may have seen the title having the "SPAM!" inserted into it.
This achieves a few things, firstly it allows you to identify it as spam and therefore not bother clicking on it, secondly when the spammers see their efforts have been altered and the product they are trying to spam has been obscured it will put them off, and Thirdly as the key words often appear in the hyperlinks it renders them UN-usable.
anyway I hope this is welcome news to you all and may encourage some of you back to the forums.
please bare in mind that there will still be the odd Spammer who finds away around these counter measures but hopefully they will be far and few between and we do strive to remove spam within 24 hours of it being posted but the majority of the time it's within 4 hours.
thank you for your time