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30 April 2010, 09:49
A Kent man has been jailed for 18 months for causing £50,000 worth of damage to trains in Kent by spraying them with graffiti.
Tom Stanley, 20, from Silver Hill in Tenterden was charged when police found photos at his home of tags that were on the carriages.
He was found guilty by a jury after a three day trial at Maidstone Crown Court.
The court heard that he had damaged trains over a period of three years between December 2005 and September 2008 in Folkestone, Faversham, Ashford, Westbury (Wiltshire), Redhill (Surrey) and at Piccadilly station in Manchester.
Stanley’s spree came to a halt when BTP officers arrested him at his home address in Tenterden and took him into custody for further questioning.
Detectives executed a search warrant and recovered a number of items from his house relating to graffiti, including photographs linking him to the tag AMUK, the same tag discovered on the damaged trains in Kent, in Redhill, Surrey and at Piccadilly station in Manchester.
Numerous other images of graffiti-damaged trains and graffiti on Network Rail property, as well as other premises were also discovered while a forensic examination of his computer revealed that he had posted images of the damage he had caused to trains onto various websites on the internet.
Detective Constable Will Livings, of BTP’s Graffiti Unit, said: "Those who commit graffiti offences often believe that their work is art – sadly when the chosen canvas is railway property it cannot be considered art and is nothing more than wanton damage that costs thousands of pounds to clean up.
"Writing graffiti on the railway or elsewhere is not a harmless pastime and we will continue to work closely with train operating companies, Network Rail and other police forces to crack down on these criminal acts."
A Southeastern spokesman said: “We welcome this verdict and hope that it sends a clear message that this behaviour is not acceptable.
"Not only does this vandalism have a financial implication but it also means that the trains have to be taken out of service to be cleaned. This could have an effect on the every day running of the service and all our passengers may suffer as a result.
"We will continue to work with the British Transport Police to prevent this from happening in the future."