Teenage graffiti ‘addict’ advised to join an art club

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A TEENAGE vandal who admitted he is ‘addicted’ to daubing graffiti has been told to join an art club by magistrates – after a criminal damage spree left him with a £250 court bill.

David Maguire used his own graffiti tag at Brockley Whins Metro Station, South Shields, and Sunderland train station – causing more than £500 of damage.

The 19-year-old admitted three counts of criminal damage at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

He was given a 12-month conditional discharge, and ordered to pay a total of £150 in compensation, £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Maguire, of Arran Drive, Jarrow, used a black marker to write on a metal bin at Brockley Whins Metro station on June 17 – but his crime was caught on camera by a community-spirited commuter.

He also spray painted his tag – of DVS DLAY – on a bridge at the Metro station on July 8 and on a metal seat at Sunderland train station on June 30.

Lee Poppett, prosecuting, said: “These are three counts of criminal damage, but in essence they are similar offences.

“On June 17, a member of public alighting at Brockley Whins saw a male – Maguire – using a black marker pen to write on a yellow metal bin.

“She took photos and passed them onto the police.”

Police inquiries then uncovered the graffiti damage caused to the bridge –with repairs valued at £512 – and the £5 worth of damage caused to a seat at Sunderland train station.

The three offences were all connected to Maguire.

When arrested, Maguire made full admissions to the police about the graffiti damage caused.

Laura Johnson, defending, said: “He tells me it is an addiction. His own flat is covered in his own tag.

“He has gone to a GP and went to a mental health team about it.

“He made full and frank admissions to the police, and has entered an early guilty plea.

“He is making an effort to get full-time employment.”

Kenneth Webster, chairman of the magistrates, said: “We have taken note of your early guilty plea and your co-operation with police. We have also noted that you have sought help.

“You hear that people who do graffiti are showing artistic talent.

“There are people who can become artists and get a reward for their efforts. Joining an art club may be the way to help you.

“Keep away from public property. That hurts everyone when you consider the cost of taxes both locally and nationally.”

Twitter @shieldsgazchris