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15 October 2010, 06:04 | Updated: 15 October 2010, 06:08
A graffiti criminal who pleaded guilty to causing more than £500,000 damage to trains, buildings, road signs, bus shelters and other structures in Folkestone and other parts of Kent has been sentenced to 15 months in a Young Offenders Institution.
20-year-old Craig Peter Knapman of Rectory Road, St Mary in the Marsh was charged with eight counts of criminal damage following a joint investigation by Kent Police, British Transport Police and Shepway District Council.
He was charged with the following and also found to be in breach of a previous court order for a similar offence.
01.01.09: Damage to Folkestone Viaduct (a listed structure)
06.02.09: Damage to a train in Sevenoaks
19.04.09: Damage to a listed building and railway equipment in Ashford.
15.06.09: Damage to a train in Ashford
30.08.09: Damage to a train in Tonbridge
01.01.09 - 04.02.10: Various road signs in Folkestone
01.01.09 - 04.02.10: Roadside cabinets belonging to Virgin Media in Folkestone
01.01.09 - 04.02.10: Shelters, toilet blocks, walls, bins, CCTV camera base, seating, lampposts and signs belonging to Shepway District Council.
In addition to the charges above he also had 80 similar offences taken into consideration.
The total value of cleaning the damage alone, is more than £500,000.
Chief Superintendent Chris Hogben, South Kent Area Commander said:
“On occasions some people try to portray graffiti as some form of art. I see graffiti as criminal damage committed by criminals who have scant regard for the local community.
“In this particular case this criminal has committed damage that will cost the local community in excess of £500,000."
“I hope the sentence passed today will deter others from committing this kind of serious criminal activity.”
PC Ryan Mulcahey, of British Transport Police said:
“Vandals like Knapman who commit graffiti offences often believe that their work is art, sadly when the chosen canvas is railway or other public 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 hope the sentence handed down to Knapman acts as a deterrent to other likeminded individuals. We will continue to work closely with train operating companies, Network Rail and other police forces to reduce these criminal acts.