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News - 14 April 2008

Jail – a fair punishment for tagger

One of the city’s most prolific graffiti taggers narrowly escaped prison after admitting more than 60 offences of criminal damage. The message that unsolicited tagging is not art but vandalism was sent out with the verdict of a suspended sentence.

Jack Deeks, 21, of Hampden Road, Brighton, received a 2 month suspended prison sentence, was ordered to complete 250 hours unpaid work and to pay costs totalling £2,598 when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates Court.

Deeks, who is unemployed, admitted 7 counts of criminal damage (graffiti) and 1 charge of resisting arrest as he ran from police when he was initially detained. He also admitted a further 55 offences of criminal damage, which were taken into consideration.

The court heard how Deeks, whose tag is NOSH and is a member of a graffiti crew called DWP – Delinquents with Paint – was arrested by police in the early hours of the morning on November 2 last year.

The police contacted the council’s graffiti officer who keeps a detailed database of graffiti in the city. She had photographic evidence of more than 60 of Deek’s tags.

The graffiti had caused more than £3,000 worth of damage on public and private property including walls, phone boxes and even transit vans.

After the hearing, PC Rebecca Temple said, "I hope today's result sends out a strong message to other taggers in the city. In this case, it appears that Deeks simply became caught up in the culture of being a graffiti artist. Unfortunately he did not think through the consequences of his tagging walls and buildings across the city or the cost implications of repairing the damage."

Environment Councillor Geoffrey Theobald added, “This is a good example of how, by working with the police, we can tackle environmental crime, track down and bring those responsible for spoiling our city before the courts.”

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