A VANDAL who scrawled graffiti on a postbox painted gold in honour of paralympic hero Josef Craig has been told he “brought shame on his community and the nation.”
Nathan Geary daubed his tag ‘nopom’ on the postbox in Grange Road, Jarrow, as well as on the cellar doors of the town’s Tunnel Club, formerly the Ex-Serviceman’s Club, and other places in the surrounding streets.
The 21-year-old caused more than £1,100 of damage in the spree, on the night of September 11 - just days after the postbox was painted in honour of 15-year-old swimmer Josef, who became Team GB’s youngest gold medallist when he won the men’s S7 400m freestyle at the Paralympic Games in London last month.
The St Joseph’s RC Comprehensive School pupil, of Primrose, Jarrow, broke the world record twice on his way to the title – once in his qualifying heat and then in the final itself.
Geary pleaded guilty to three charges of criminal damage at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court where his actions were condemned.
Chairwoman of the bench Lorraine Montgomerie said: “This was dreadful. You have damaged places that are part of the community, not only that but a postbox dedicated to a national hero.
“The whole country was so proud of Josef’s achievements and you have brought shame and disgrace on your community and the nation.”
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, told the court that the postmaster at Jarrow post office called the police on September 12 to say the gold postbox had been vandalised.
She read out a statement from the postmaster which said: “The staff and public were disgusted by it.
“It was painted gold in celebration of a wonderful achievement by a local lad and to vandalise it is a terrible crime.”
Mrs Beck told the court that CCTV footage captured Geary, of Wilkinson Court, Jarrow, scrawling on the tower block where he lives, the social club and bins, lamp posts, traffic signs, fences and benches in the area.
Some of the graffiti read ‘Nathan loves Jade’.
The court heard that Geary, who has a two-year-old daughter, has no previous convictions for criminal damage.
Rachel Comb, defending, said: “He can’t really offer an explanation for this.
“He had been drinking and can only remember committing some of the damage.
“He was remorseful when he was arrested and is remorseful now.
“He appreciates how stupid and mindless these acts were.
Magistrates adjourned the case until Friday for the probation service to prepare a report about Geary.
After the hearing the Gazette approached Geary to see if would like to apologise to Josef and explain his actions but he declined.