THREE graffiti vandals who carried out a six-year £250,000 campaign against the railways have been jailed for eight months.
Daniel Jay-Webster, 25, of Stanningley Road, Armley, Leeds, Jack Rodgers, 26, of Bramble Grove, Pool-in-Wharfedale, and James Steward, 27, of Mitchell Close, Thackley, Bradford, were part of a graffiti ‘crew’ known as NKA.
Between January 2003 and February 2009, the gang daubed graffiti ‘tags’ across the north including in Leeds, Wakefield, Harrogate, Skipton, Buxton, Liverpool and Crewe, York Crown Court was told.
Damage believed to be linked to the same crew was found to have been caused to trains and property as far afield as Europe, the Far East and Australia as well as London and Bristol.
The tags they used to deface trains included “OGRE”, “HACK” and “TWOK”.
Jay-Webster, Rodgers and Steward all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal damage and were each sentenced to eight months in jail.
British Transport Police were alerted to the vandals when five men were disturbed spraying graffiti on a train in Harrogate in February 2009.
Two managed to escape, but three – Rodgers an Italian man and a Portuguese man – were arrested at the scene. Steward and Jay-Webster were arrested later.
The police inquiry found evidence which linked Steward, Rodgers and Jay-Webster to their tags and the damage to the trains. Officers also traced their activities back to 2003 which included offences against Northern Rail, First Transpennine Express, Merseyrail, Midland Mainline, Virgin Trains and London Underground.
PC Tony McGibbon, who investigated the incidents, said: “These three vandals, as part of a prolific graffiti crew, are jointly responsible for around £250,000 of damage to trains and stations across the country.
“They cared little for the impact their wanton destruction would have on others and were only interested in enhancing and furthering their own reputations amongst the graffiti vandal fraternity.
“Some people argue that graffiti is art and not vandalism, but when the graffiti is written or sprayed on private or public property then it loses any artistic credibility and becomes a criminal act.
“This case should serve as a warning to others.