A VANDAL who scrawled his ‘tag’ on three South Tyneside Metro stations asked a court to give him an electronic tag.
David Maguire was caught on CCTV daubing the graffiti – which said SER – inside Fellgate station’s lift before travelling on the Metro system to Jarrow and Tyne Dock, where he did the same thing.
The 18-year-old, of Dock Street, South Shields, handed himself in to police after seeing his photograph in the Gazette and pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last week.
The case was adjourned for the probation service to write a report about him, which recommended that he is given unpaid work.
But Maguire’s solicitor, Kayleigh Helens, told magistrates that he would not do any community service and would rather be given a curfew.
She said: “He’s 18 now but since he was 15, he’s had some traumatic years and has been living alone.
“He handed himself in after seeing his picture in the local paper and wants to be placed on an electronically-tagged curfew.
“It is a strange request because it is more punitive than unpaid work – but said he won’t do that because he is already doing a course with social services.”
Miss Helens added: “He says he has grown up a lot in the last three months and he wants to have a normal life.”
Stan Sudworth, prosecuting, told the court that Metro cleaners found the graffiti and told their bosses about it.
He added: “When he was arrested, he told police he was drunk and SER was his tag.”
Magistrates gave Maguire a two-month electronic curfew between 7pm and 7am.
He was also told to pay £100 compensation to Nexus, which operates the Metro, £50 court costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
Pc Nick Cannon, of British Transport Police’s Metro Unit, investigated the incidents and thanked the Gazette for helping convict Maguire.
He said: “I would like to thank members of the public for coming forward with information, as well as the Shields Gazette for assisting with our appeal.
“Thanks to the excellent CCTV, Maguire handed himself in after spotting himself in the newspaper and was immediately arrested.”
Pc Cannon hopes Maguire’s sentence serves as a warning to anyone who thinks they can cause criminal damage at Metro stations in South Tyneside.
He added: “The costs of criminal damage and graffiti is substantial for the railway industry in terms of repairs and clean-up, and can leave permanent scars on the infrastructure.
“It not only causes inconvenience to train operating companies who have to take trains out of service, it also affects the fare-paying passengers through delays and disruption.
“We will continue to use CCTV to identify vandals and put them in front of the courts.”