(3 weeks ago)
A group of graffiti vandals has today (7/10/09) pleaded guilty to more than 125 graffiti offences on trains across the country – crimes which cost rail operators some £270,000.
About 40 of the offences were on the Tube and the rest were on southern train operators.
The last member of the group pleaded guilty at Isleworth Crown Court today to conspiracy to commit more than 125 criminal damage offences over a two-year period from February 2006 to November 2007. The other members pleaded guilty to the same charge over the last few days. All six members of the group are now aged 20-23 and are from the West London area.
The investigation began after one of the vandals’ cars was pulled over in Twickenham by police responding to an ANPR alert which linked the car to a theft of champagne. In the boot of the red Fiat Punto, police found an assortment of spray cans, bolt cutters, gloves and several photos of sprayed trains.
BTP Investigating Officer Eugene Gill said: “We had footage of some of their crimes on covert CCTV cameras and the evidence found in the boot gave us further suspects.
“To build the case against them our high-tech crime unit analysed phone records and computer hard drives which allowed us to show the links between members of the group and to their crimes.
“They were prolific offenders and during one house search we found more than 400 photos of sprayed trains under the bed.”
Howard Collins, Chief Operating Officer of London Underground said:
“The groups’ actions cost thousands of pounds and resulted in trains being taken out of service causing unnecessary delays and distress to our passengers, which is why we will be taking civil action to recover the debt that their damage created.
“Criminal damage creates an intimidating atmosphere which is why we work hard in maintaining a clean and pleasant network for our customers. In addition, we continue to devote significant and growing resources to visible policing across the transport system to make sure that passengers not only feel comfortable but safe as well.”
The sentencing date has not yet been set.