A prolific graffiti vandal who caused more than £20,000 worth of damage to trains across the country has today been jailed today.
Joseph Binney, aged 22 and of The Roundway, Hull, was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment at Kingston-Upon-Thames Crown Court for criminal damage to the rail network.
Binney was also sentenced separately to two years’ imprisonment for his involvement in violent disorder following a protest in London on Saturday, 26 March 2011.
The court heard that Binney – who pleaded guilty to eight counts of criminal damage and asked the court to take into consideration three further counts – undertook a crime spree on the railway network between December 2009 and October 2010, targeting trains in Leeds, Hull, Cleethorpes, Birkenhead, Leeming Bar, London and also a railway bridge in Bentley, South Yorkshire.
Binney was originally arrested by British Transport Police (BTP) officers on Monday, 6 June 2010 after he was spotted spray painting railway arches near the Corn Exchange in Leeds and handed a caution.
However, BTP graffiti specialist Sergeant Pete Shaw further investigated Binney’s tags and movements and was able to link him with a number of additional crimes across the railway network, leading to him being re-arrested in August 2010.
Sgt Shaw said: “Binney travelled the country vandalising railway property, and has now been jailed for his spree of criminal damage.
“The costs of graffiti damage are substantial for the railway industry in terms of repairs and clean-up, and can leave permanent scars on the infrastructure. The financial costs have to be borne by someone, and that someone is ultimately the fare-paying passenger.
“Trains are also taken out of service for cleaning, sometimes for days at a time, causing disruption and delays for passengers.
“BTP takes criminal damage in the form of graffiti on the rail network extremely seriously; we seek to catch and prosecute those who commit such crimes.”
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Each year Network Rail spends more than £3.5m on the removal of graffiti – money which could otherwise be spent on improving the railway. Graffiti not only looks bad, it also makes passengers and people who live nearby feel unsafe.
“The courts have our full backing when sentencing those who graffiti or damage railway property and we hope it acts as a deterrent to others.
“Trespassing on the railway is also a criminal offence and carries a fine of up to £1000.
“Sadly, some people end up paying a much higher price and every year people are killed and injured when attempting to graffiti railway property.”