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Graffiti vandals jailed

PUBLISHED: 17:50 15 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:13 12 August 2010

Damaged: train

Damaged: train

FOUR graffiti vandals who repeatedly risked their lives to tag trains have been jailed. The men, who had all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause criminal damage, were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Friday to a total of six and a quarter year

FOUR graffiti vandals who repeatedly risked their lives to 'tag' trains have been jailed.

The men, who had all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause criminal damage, were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Friday to a total of six and a quarter years for crimes spanning a two-year period.

Sentencing Judge Stephen Robbins said custodial sentences would act as a deterrent to others from engaging in similar behaviour.

He told the court: "The fact is that this type of offending sickens members of the public who have their travelling lives blighted by this sort of criminal damage".

Glazier Tom Collister, 22, of Cherry Tree Way, West Wickham, was given a 30-month sentence while plumber Darren Austin, 21, of Mackenzie Road, Beckenham, was jailed for 18 months.

Joshua Piehl, 19, an apprentice locksmith, of Speldhurst Road, Tunbridge Wells, was jailed for 12 months and unemployed William Setzdempsey, 19, of Hillmead, Uckfield, was given 15 months.

Detective Sergeant Pete Thrush said: "In 2004 Austin was arrested for trespassing on the railway in an incident where he received an electric shock from the 750 volt live rail yet he continued to trespass to spray graffiti on trains and sidings. I would rather see people go to court than go to the morgue."

The group was linked to the vandalism by photographs, paint cans and materials seized at their homes. Vehicles belonging to Collister and Setzdempsey containing spray cans, masks and other materials were also seized, along with tagged items including train timetables, shoe boxes, and even a pair of slippers.

From 2005 to their arrest in Hertfordshire in April 2007, tags belonging to the group were sprayed at East Grinstead, Redhill, Woking, Tonbridge, Epsom, Bletchley, Horsham, Hastings, Tunbridge Wells and Ramsgate stations.

Police also found text messages with the group's plans. One message read: "Safe M8 U up 4 doin a live tube plot 2nite". Another stated: "I'm doin sum track sides by myself anyway I've got 6 cans of stella an paint.

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