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Four jailed after 'persistent, dedicated' graffiti campaign

Four men who waged a graffiti campaign on Kent's railways were today jailed for a total of more than six years.

Tom Collister, Darren Austin, Joshua Piehl and William Setzdemspey, who belonged to the JKS (Just Kant Stop) and the FDC (Forever Doing Crime) crew, were sentenced in Southwark Crown Court for their part in a two-year rail vandalism campaign.

It included spraying areas in Kent such as Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Ramsgate.

British Transport Police said the four were prolific vandals who caused delays and disruptions to train services after they defaced carriages during organised overnight tagging sessions – many committed while on bail.

The group's tagging spree came to an end after a lengthy investigation by officers attached to the BTP London South Graffiti Unit.

Detective Sergeant Pete Thrush said the vandals were so intent on causing damage that not even the threat of death had deterred them.

"In 2004 Austin was arrested for trespassing on the railway in an incident where he received an electric shock from the 750 volt live rail.

"Yet he continued to trespass to spray graffiti on trains and sidings.

"In 2006 he was handed an ASBO preventing him from carrying spray paint, but he was subsequently linked to a series of offences."

Det Sgt Thrush said the group was linked to crimes via photographs, paint cans and materials seized from their homes.

Vehicles belonging to Collister and Setzdempsey containing spray cans, masks and other materials were also seized.

Police also retrieved text messages showing planned activity between members of the group. One such message included: "Safe M8 U up 4 doin a live tube plot 2nite". While another stated: "I'm doin sum track sides by myself anyway I've got 6 cans of stella an paint."

Det Sgt Thrush said: "These people are persistent dedicated vandals. The court has recognised the seriousness of the offences, the risk these young men take with their lives and the cost to the train companies and public of south London. I would rather see people go to court than go to the morgue."

The court today sentenced the group for their part in the conspiracy to commit criminal damage. The four had pleaded guilty.

In sentencing Judge Stephen Robbins said graffiti and criminal damage was a serious offence and a custodial sentence would act as a deterrent to others from engaging in such behaviour.

Collister, a 22-year-old glazier, of Cherry Tree Way, West Wickham, was sentenced to 30 months jail for the conspiracy. He was linked to the tags SKEAMS, SKEAMZ, SKEAM and FDC.

Austin, a 21-year-old plumber of Mackenzie Rd, Beckenham, was sentenced to 18 months jail for the conspiracy. He was linked to the tag FDC

Piehl, a 19-year-old apprentice locksmith, from Speldhurst Rd, Tunbridge Wells, was sentenced to 12 months jail for the conspiracy. He was linked to the tags SKAM and JKS.

Setzdempsey, a 19-year-old and unemployed, of Hillmead, Uckfield, was sentenced to 15 months jail for the conspiracy. He was linked to the tags NOIS and JKS.

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