A GREENFIELD man, part of a five-strong graffiti gang involved in ‘train tagging’ has received a suspended jail term for his role in the mass act of vandalism.
During an 18-month period, Elliott Scott, 25, of Bunkers Farm, Tunstead Lane, and four others caused damage put at £77,000.
The five men, members of the Manchester-based self-named SMT and LWI graffiti crews, pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage relating to 43 offences – between July 2015 and December 2016 – at Manchester Crown Court.
During house searches of all the crew members, incriminating evidence was uncovered including messages, mobile calls and chats linking the group, video footage, trophy photographs and paint cans.
Scott was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake 250 hours unpaid work and pay £500 costs.
Two of the other men, brothers Dominic Leach, 25, and Niall Leach, 24, of Hulbert Street, Middleton, Manchester, were both jailed for 12 months.
Christopher Uthman, 24, of Bullfinch Walk, Manchester, was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs.
Maksym Tyshkul, 20, of Bury Old Road, Prestwich, was sentenced to a 10-month jail term, suspended for two years, 180 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs.
Following initial reports of damage to trains by a number of operators including Virgin Trains, Northern Rail, London Underground, Thameslink Govia, Chiltern, Freightliner and Manchester Metrolink, British Transport Police launched an investigation.
Enquiries identified Dominic Leach and Tyshkul as potential suspects. Warrants were obtained to search their home addresses in on April 21, 2016.
Further evidence then led officers to Scott and Uthman, who were arrested on December 8, 2016.
As enquiries continued on March 1, 2017, Dominic Leach and Niall Leach were arrested at their home addresses as part of the investigation.
After initially replying no comment and not guilty, due to the evidence placed before them the group had no choice but to change their plea to guilty.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Tony McGibbon, said: “This was a lengthy and complex investigation.
“The cost of repairing graffiti is enormous. It also poses grave danger to the individuals involved.
“Railway lines are operational 24 hours a day, trespassing at any time of the day can prove fatal.
“If you notice anyone acting suspiciously or vandalising the railway, you can easily report it to us by discreetly texting 61016 or calling 0800 405040.”