'I find that highly improbable': Graffiti artist arrested for spray painting wall of Park Plaza hotel in Leeds claimed he was doing a project with Banksy

A graffiti artist who was arrested as he sprayed his tag on the side of a Leeds city centre hotel claimed he had been doing a project with Banksy.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 4:45 am

A judge told Gregory Metcalfe that he found his account "highly improbable" as he sentenced him for criminal damage.

Leeds Crown Court heard Metcalfe, 44, was arrested on October 15 last year after he was seen spraying graffiti outside the Park Plaza, on City Square.

Members of the public alerted police officers and Metcalfe ran off.

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Gregory Metcalfe claimed he had been doing a project with Banksy when he was arrested for spraying graffiti outside the Park Plaza, on City Square.

He was detained and arrested nearby then taken to hospital after he told the officers that he felt unwell.

Matcalfe, of Recreation Terrace, Holbeck, was interviewed about the incident and claimed he believed he had been given permission to spray the graffiti.

He had been filming himself at the time and said it was part of work he had been doing with Banksy.

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The defendant said he could not carry out the work because had a dislocated shoulder.

The hotel had to pay a company £50 for the graffiti to be cleaned.

Metcalfe pleaded guilty to criminal damage.

At the time of the offence Metcalfe was the subject of a suspended sentence order for producing cannabis.

Sohail Khan, mitigating, said Metcalfe pleaded guilty to the offence at an early stage.

He said Mr Metcalfe was unfit to do unpaid work.

He was also made the subject of a curfew order, between 7pm and 6am, for two months.

Sentencing, Recorder Anesh Pema said: "The offence was, quite frankly, a ridiculous one.

"You gave a ridiculous explanation that you thought you had been given permission to do it and you were working with the infamous Banksy.

"Quite frankly, that is something that was highly improbable.

Describing the offending, Recorder Pema added: "You had planned to do it.

"You had come with your tins and you were videoing it."