- 6 Jun 2005
Why has he not been forced to clean up his mess? :xA Prolific South Devon teenage graffiti yob who, police said, caused £86,000 damage has been banned from possessing spray cans and markers.
Joshua Dent, 17, from Teignmouth, has also been outlawed from railway stations - his favourite location for scrawling his eyesores. Dent was given a two-year anti social behaviour order at a hearing at Newton Abbot Magistrates Court yesterday.
The order bans Dent, of Higher Woodway Close, from entering any railway station or yard other than for the purpose of travelling on a train.
He is also banned from having anything which could be used to deface property including spray cans, markers, etching equipment, stencils and stickers.
After the hearing PC Tony O'Farrell of the British Transport Police said there had been an 18-month investigation leading up to the Asbo.
He said most of the damage was caused to trains parked outside Exeter St David's but Dent had also scrawled graffiti at Exeter Central, Newton Abbot, Dawlish and Teignmouth stations.
He said: "Dent used the tags 'midas', 'ups' - which stands for under police surveillance, and 'nks' -which means night krime specialist.
"We received intelligence which led us to discover he had caused more than £86,000 damage to Wessex trains, Network Rail and Royal Mail trains and others."
He said the damage ranged from small tags to huge pieces covering the whole side of a carriage.
He said other people were also being investigated over graffiti at railway stations.
"We are delighted that he got the Asbo. We feel he was dealt with in an appropriate way.
"It will make a big difference because he was very prolific."
Making the application on behalf of British Transport Police, prosecutor Mike Ashby said the request was unusual but the right course to take.
Mr Ashby said Dent had admitted having a peculiar obsession with railways and particularly freight wagons.
The court heard he carried it out for the buzz and excitement and the risk of getting caught.
He said: "We are dealing with a major graffiti artist who has an obsession."
Imposing the Asbo, chairman of the bench David Whitaker told Dent it was the worst case of its kind he had ever seen in 25 years of being a magistrate.
He said: "We feel we wouldn't be doing our duty to the community if we did anything other than impose an Asbo.
"We believe the facts of this case are that you behaved in a anti social manner and an order should be made so as to protect people."
He warned Dent that any breach of the Asbo could be punished with custody.
Despite objections by defence solicitor Ann Bellchamber, magistrates said they would not impose reporting restrictions on the Asbo order which would have prevented the Herald Express revealing Dent's identity because of his age.