West London graffiti gang jailed for £270k damage
A graffiti gang has been jailed after causing £270,000 damage to trains - which led to disruption and delays for passengers as carriages had to be taken out of service.
The prolific vandals, aged between 20 and 23, including yobs from Hampton, Twickenham and Feltham, broke into west London stations and depots at night for nearly two years before they were caught.
They even stopped moving trains, on one occasion pulling the emergency brake, before ambushing the carriages.
Police finally hunted them down after pulling over a red Fiat Punto in Twickenham and discovering spray cans, bolt cutters, gloves and photos of trains with their tags “SNOB”, “BOMS”, “KID” and “TOKE” in the boot.
Watch the CCTV footage
It led to the gang, known as “DWS”, being sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court last Friday, after pleading guilty to more than 125 criminal damage offences between February 2006 and November 2007.
Judge Jonathan Denniss said: “Whatever aesthetic skills being displayed by the defendants, there has been substantial damage and substantial costs to train companies in the south west and particularly in London.”
Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Shanahan, of British Transport Police, said: “Cameras at stations and depots filmed their brazen acts of vandalism and we used this footage to get clear facial images of them.
“They were intent on criminality and went to great lengths to plan their attacks on trains. They did not commit random acts of vandalism but conspired together to go out and commit crime.
“During one house search we found more than 400 photographs of the damage they had caused to trains.”
London Underground said it will take civil action against the vandals to recover the huge costs.
Howard Collins, chief operating officer of London Underground, said: “The group’s actions cost thousands of pounds and resulted in trains being taken out of service. As well as causing unnecessary delays and distress to our passengers, they also put their own lives in danger.”
Scott Offord, 21, of Jillian close, Hampton, was jailed for 18 months, Benjamin Standen, 21, of Chaplin Crescent, Sunbury, got six months, Fraser Howie, 23, of Ailsa Road,Twickenham, got 15 months, Adam Baigent, 21, of The Allders, Hanworth, got 15 months and Jason Newman, 22, of Sunbury Road, Feltham, got nine months.
Stephen Byrne, 20, of Cardinal Avenue, Kingston, was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for two years.