Two graffiti taggers were jailed today for risking their lives to spray graffiti on the railways for four years, causing £30k of damage.
Matthew Fowler, 32, from Brighton and Richard Markwick, 19, from Lancing pleaded guilty to 21 counts of criminal damage at Lewes Crown Court today.
In total, they admitted to 241 offences committed in Brighton, Lancing and on the trains and railways between November 2005 and May 2009.
So determined were they to continue their vandalism spree, they continued to spray graffiti after being arrested and while on police bail, and so were remanded in custody from September until today’s hearing.
Fowler was jailed for 18 months and Markwick sent to a young offenders’ institution for 15 months. Both were given three-year antisocial behaviour orders banning them from carrying paint, marker pens, or glass etching or staining equipment.
PC Billy Burstow, British Transport Police, said: “The risks that Fowler and Markwick took were staggering and by writing graffiti lineside they placed themselves at serious risk.
“Their graffiti was discovered in places offering no refuge from approaching trains. They also accessed areas where there are trip hazards or where they risked getting their feet trapped in railway points.
“The railway is an extremely dangerous environment and the risks, even to trained staff, are always present and very real. Writing graffiti on the railway or elsewhere is not a harmless pastime. It is a criminal act and I hope that this case sends out a strong message that the police and the courts do not look kindly upon those who vandalise private property in this way.”
PC Rachel Piggott of Sussex Police’s neighbourhood policing team, said: “This should serve as a warning to other would-be offenders that this type of anti-social behaviour is not tolerated in Sussex.”
Environment cabinet member Councillor Geoffrey Theobald added: “We will continue to pursue the small minority who spoil our beautiful city for the rest of us; graffiti tags are not welcome in Brighton and Hove.”
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