A prolific graffiti artist from Bedminster who caused thousands of pounds worth of damage has been fined and given a community order.
Police arrested Lewey Spencer in January following a detailed investigation into another prolific “tagger”.
On a computer, they found pictures and video of Spencer, 25, from Stanley Street South, spraying his tag “AMES” onto railway property, signs, streets and derelict buildings.
“Trophy photographs” showed Spencer posing next to his work, and a video showed him spraying paint onto a moving train and breaking into a train depot.
Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday that Spencer caused £1,660 of damage to a train belonging to First Great Western when he broke into the Laira depot in Plymouth on the evening of September 29, 2007.
He pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the parapets of a footbridge at Sheene Way, Bedminster, belonging to Network Rail and asked for 32 similar offences to be taken into account.
Spencer lives with his parents and was arrested there on December 23 last year.
In the house, police found numerous tins of spray paint, marker pens, latex gloves and paint-splattered clothes.
His solicitor Mark Andrews told the court Spencer had always had an interest in art, and began spraying graffiti on legal walls before “finding himself associated with people who have gone beyond that”.
Mr Andrews said: “He found himself slipping to the other side of the line, to be part of a sub-culture.
“This was a preoccupation and an obsession. He was thinking about it all the time, and it dominated his life for a significant period of time.”
The court was told that Spencer, who works for a builders merchants, continues to be a graffiti artist, but now only paints on legal walls and also in a studio he rents in St Paul’s.
“He has made a positive decision to distance himself from the illegal graffiti world, but he remains on the legal side of things,” Mr Andrews said.
“He no longer does this work illegally. He has made a definite decision to turn himself away from it.”
Magistrates ordered Spencer to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work, and said they hoped that this would involve cleaning illegal graffiti.
He was also ordered to pay £1,390 in fines and costs.
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