A GRAFFITI vandal who was caught daubing an offensive message about a police officer has been ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work and told – ‘why don’t you do it to your own wall?’.
Daniel Gray was spotted spray-painting the garage wall behind the Finchale Road shops in Hebburn by a member of the public at about 11pm on Saturday, October 19, last year.
He was traced by police after leaving his own ‘tag’ on the wall before being arrested.
Officers were able to find out that the 22-year-old was responsible for the offence due to his tag of ‘gravy’ – the alias by which he is known by fellow graffiti artists in the town – also being spray-painted underneath the abusive message.
Gray, of Scarborough Parade, Hebburn, admitted criminal damage at an earlier hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, and was back at court yesterday for sentencing.
Zeena Begum, prosecuting, said: “When arrested, he admitted causing the criminal damage. He said he had gone out on his pedal bike with a tin of paint, spray paint and a brush, with the sole intention of spray-painting his nickname.
“He had no idea why he painted the message about the police officer, as he said he had no issue with him.”
The criminal damage offence breached two separate 12-month community discharges – one imposed on January 10 last year for possession of a Class B drug, and another handed out on February 12 last year for receiving stolen goods.
David Hatfield, defending, said: “The offence is not the most serious matter. and he is not heavily convicted. “
The case had been adjourned in December for a probation report to be completed on Gray after the court heard he smokes £20 of cannabis a day, which is a ‘driver’ in his offending, and could benefit from a drug rehabilitation order.
But defence solicitor Mr Hatfield said Gray did not wish to have the drug rehabilitation requirement, as he feared it would mean him mixing with more hardened drug-users.
Mr Hatfield told the court: “I feel he does have a genuine reason for not wanting to engage with the drug rehabilitation requirement of the order.”
District Judge Helen Cousins agreed not to attach a drug rehabilitation requirement, and gave Gray a 12-month community order and 80 hours of unpaid work, and ordered him to pay £200 compensation to South Tyneside Council, to cover the cost of the damage and removing the graffiti.
He was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £60.
District Judge Cousins told Gray: “On the face of it, the offence is not terribly serious.
“But the message was abusive and offensive. People don’t need to see it.
“It is very anti-social. Why don’t you do it to your own wall? If you did it at your mother’s house, would she be happy with it?”