A graffiti vandal who caused £50,000 worth of graffiti damage to trains in Surrey, Wiltshire, as far afield as Manchester and throughout Kent has been found guilty of criminal damage and sentenced to 18 months in prison following a British Transport Police (BTP) investigation.
Tom Stanley, 20, of Silver Hill, Tenterden, Kent, was convicted following a three-day trial at Maidstone Crown Court, which saw Stanley decline to give testimony when summoned to the witness box.
The court heard that Stanley – who was found guilty by jurors on all 12 of the charges put to him – had attacked and damaged trains over a period of three years between December 2005 and September 2008, targeting trains in Folkestone, Faversham, Ashford, Westbury (Wiltshire), Redhill (Surrey) and at Piccadilly station in Manchester, causing damage in excess of £50,000.
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.
When questioned by investigators, Stanley gave answers of no comment to all questions posed.
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.”