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Transport

Graffiti man jailed

A man who did graffiti spree across trains in London and the South East costing the railway £250,000, has been jailed. Kristian Holmes, 32, of Ellison Road, Sidcup, Kent, was jailed for three and a half years after he was found guilty of 39 criminal damage offences at Blackfriars Crown Court.

He was sentenced on Monday, June 17, after a five week trial, in which he denied the offences.

The court heard how Holmes, an accounts manager from Sidcup, vandalised trains, stations and bridges across London and the South East between 2003 and 2010.

His seven-year spree using his tag ‘VAMP’ caused a total of £250,000 worth of damage across railway infrastructure.

One of his attacks included spraying a 63-year-old train carriage on the Bluebell Railway, a steam-powered railway heritage line run by volunteers in Sussex.

When British Transport Police (BTP) officers searched Holmes’s address, they discovered a London A to Z street guide detailing the places he had vandalised. They also found spray can nozzles, gloves covered in paint, and high-visibility jackets.

BTP officers arrested Holmes at his place of work in Bromley in April 2010, and seized his work computer.

Holmes was further charged with one count of perverting the course of justice after he uploaded videos to YouTube in an attempt to make investigators believe it was a mixed-race man spraying the graffiti. However, detectives uncovered photographs amongst others on Holmes’ home computer showing him spray painting the tag.

He received two and a half years for criminal damage and a further 12 months for perverting the course of justice.

Detective Sergeant Jez Walley, who led the investigation for BTP, said after the case: “Holmes was a prolific vandal who offended over a number of years.

“He was determined to undermine the case by using social media to make detectives believe that he was not responsible for the graffiti. These videos were investigated as thoroughly as the original offence.”

DS Walley added: “Graffiti offences are constantly being reviewed and offenders will be sought even many months or years after the crime – I hope this acts as a deterrent for those thinking about doing the same as Holmes. The financial costs of cleaning up graffiti have to be borne by someone, and that someone is ultimately the fare-paying passenger.

“Trains are taken out of service for cleaning, sometimes for days at a time, causing disruption and delays for passengers.

“Graffiti also involves serious risks to those who go onto the tracks, who often don’t know when a train will come or if the tracks are live.”

Another Kent man was given a 12-month suspended sentence.

Also sentenced at Blackfriars, in a separate case, was Charlie Holland, 28, of Imperial Way, Chistlehurst, Kent.

Holland received a 12-month suspended sentence for daubing graffiti on railway property and trains throughout London between December 2004 and 2009, to a total damage cost of £93,343.87.

He was also demanded to complete 250 hours unpaid work, and obey a curfew of remaining at his home address between 8pm and 6am.

Holland pleaded guilty to eleven counts of criminal damage at an earlier hearing at West London Magistrates Court.

The court heard that Hollands tag ‘DFIE’ has been prolific all over Kent and London.

Holland’s social-network profile page showed a picture of him posing underneath a sign daubed with his tag.


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