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Prolific rail graffiti trio spared prison

PUBLISHED: 15:00 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 11:47 12 August 2010

A GANG of graffiti artists who caused more than £100,000 worth of damage to trains and stations in a campaign of vandalism on the railways escaped jail last Thursday.  Jason Giorgetti, 22, of Smitham Downs Road, Croydon, James Rees, 18, of Palmerfield R

A GANG of graffiti artists who caused more than £100,000 worth of damage to trains and stations in a 'campaign of vandalism on the railways' escaped jail last Thursday.

Jason Giorgetti, 22, of Smitham Downs Road, Croydon, James Rees, 18, of Palmerfield Road, Banstead and Michael Deioia, 26, of Arundel Ave, Selsdon were members of the notorious SHZ crew and splattered their graffiti signatures KASO, ANIK and FORGOT for three years across London.

The trio sprayed their tags wherever they could, including Grove Park depot and sidings in Lewisham and St Johns.

They were even linked to damage caused on trains in Germany and also filmed themselves putting on masks and spraying a train station, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Despite being arrested, the men 'showed little regard' as they continued to vandalise property after being released on bail. Obsessed by 'painting', studious Deioia - who caused £25,000 damage - read countless books on graffiti and its 'sub-culture' and watched films of the illegal artwork entitled 'Steel injection'.

He even sent his co-defendant Giorgetti a text message stating: 'I want to lay off painting but it's all I want to do, frustrating!'

Giorgetti, dubbed the 'major operator' of the gang, caused £34,000 worth of damage and was twice given reprimands for vandalism.

Rees, who was just 15 at the time the conspiracy began in 2003, caused £10,000 of damage. Despite this, they will pay back just £5,500 in compensation.

All three admitted conspiracy to cause criminal damage. Passing community-based sentences for all three, Judge James Wadsworth said: "All three of you, to slightly varying degrees, engaged in a long practice of stupid and destructive behaviour. Clearly from what you said at the time you thought it was clever and right and a grown up thing to do, but I suspect you now realise it is stupid vandalism that must be treated seriously."

Transport officials claimed that there was no way of knowing exactly how much damage the defendants had caused but that is was 'well in excess' of the £69,000 that has been attributed to them.

The court heard the illicit artwork caused mayhem on Southern, Southeastern, South West Trains and London Underground trains - resulting in hours of delays when trains were forced out of service.

Judge Wadsworth said Giorgetti would be spared jail as his mother is terminally ill with cancer and he is her sole carer.

He and Deioia received 12-month sentences, suspended for two years. They were also ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation - £175 on costs - and to carry out 250 hours unpaid work. Rees received a 12-month community order and was told to carry out 150 hours unpaid work and pay £1,500 in compensation as well as £175 costs.

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