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Tuesday, 13 July 2010

London graffiti crew jailed

Tube graffiti gang jailed for ‘epidemic’ of train vandalism

A teenage gang has been locked up for vandalising dozens of Tube trains and stations with graffiti.

The teenagers daubed the tag “FTS” all over the trains and filmed themselves on their mobile phones. One of the gang brazenly declared online: “If I get two years I'll still paint.”

The youngest gang member was only 14 when took part in the vandalism between April 2008 and June last year. Now 16, he was sentenced alongside a 17-year-old who also cannot be named and four older youths at Southwark crown court.

Passing sentence Judge John Price said: “The damage was a very large scale. Whole Tube carriages were defaced. It is an epidemic. We see it all over London.

“It is distressing for people, it causes chaos, carriages have to be taken out of use at enormous cost and repainted.”

Earlier, prosecutor William McGivern said the gang's damage amounted to nearly £60,000 and disrupted commuter services across north-west London and the suburbs.

The gang was in contact by email, phone or text to discuss targets, security and meeting places.

They would then get to work armed with bolt cutters, spray cans, permanent marker pens, acid and paint.

Most of the gang were arrested in July last year after a long-running operation by British Transport Police.

*****, 18, *****, 18, *****, 18, and *****, 19, all of Pinner, admitted conspiracy to cause criminal damage and were sent to a young offender institute for nine months each.

The 17-year-old was given an eight-month detention and training order and the 16-year-old was ordered to undergo two years' supervision and comply with a three-month curfew.

Each defendant also received a three-year Asbo banning them from carrying graffiti-related items or from entering private railway property.

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