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Banksy wannabe who targeted Dartford postboxes caught on camera

A video of a masked Banksy wannabe spraypainting a postbox gold has emerged.

Danny Whiskin pleaded guilty to several criminal damage charges after he vandalised 38 postboxes across the Dartford area earlier this year.

Danny Whiskin, 33, was recorded vandalising postboxes in Dartford earlier this year. Picture: CPS
Danny Whiskin, 33, was recorded vandalising postboxes in Dartford earlier this year. Picture: CPS

In the footage, which was played at Medway Magistrates’ Court last week, the 33-year-old can be seen disguised in a hooded jacket and mask while clutching a bag.

Whiskin painted the Royal Mail postboxes in multiple designs, including Cadbury’s Creme Egg and Mr Blobby themes.

During the minute-long clip the vandal frantically covers the red postbox in gold paint while anxiously looking around.

He was seen with an e-scooter next to him, which is believed to be the one he used to secretly go out armed with spray cans in the area to vandalise the boxes multiple times.

But he was caught in the act on mobile phone footage taken by a passer-by in Sycamore Road in the town, who was so outraged by his behaviour, they passed the footage to police.

The tip-off and the transformation of the postboxes, which are owned by Royal Mail, led police to release an image of Whiskin, in the hope he could be identified and arrested.

Medway Magistrates’ Court heard he was arrested in February and his home in the town was searched.

Not only did police find spray paint in his room, they also found a black bag with a skull logo on it and clothing which matched the clothing the person caught on the mobile footage.

Prosecutor Sidumiso Moyo told the court Royal Mail was first made aware of the vandalism on February 5, when 15 boxes had been targeted.

She added: “Fifteen postboxes had been painted gold but on February 9, a member of the public saw him using a spray can and started recording it on their mobile phone.

Danny Whiskin painted 38 postboxes different colours
Danny Whiskin painted 38 postboxes different colours

“The footage showed a male spraying the postbox gold and he had a gold scooter and a black bag which had a skull logo on it.”

The prosecutor then told magistrates on February 13, a police officer spotted a man matching the description of the mystery painter in Central Road, Dartford. Whiskin was arrested, taken into custody and interviewed.

Officers found 29 spray cans and clothing that matched the footage and a black bag with its skull logo removed.

Ms Moyo added: ”There were also receipts showing he had purchased spay paint, one for £28 and one from B&Q dated January 30, which showed £169 had been spent on spray paint.

“The scooter and trainers matching what was in the video were there and officers visited a Wickes in Dartford and viewed CCTV which showed him buying spray paint.

“While in custody his phone was checked and there were screenshots of messages between him and his sister talking about Facebook posts of the gold postboxes.”

Whiskin, a father-of-five, was later bailed with conditions he did not go out in public with a can of spray paint or spray paint anything.

But the day after being bailed, other postboxes had been given a makeover overnight and this time, they had not been painted gold, but had been adorned with the Mr Blobby and Cadbury’s Creme Egg designs.

Danny Whiskin spray-painted several postboxes in Dartford
Danny Whiskin spray-painted several postboxes in Dartford

He also struck again later when he was spotted by another member of the public spray-painting another postbox in the same area, but this time in a Union Jack design.

On this occasion, police were called and patrols attended.

Officers spotted Whiskin who ran off but was apprehended and arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

Ms Moyo told the court as he fled he discarded some of his belongings including a jacket and when officers retrieved the items, Whiskin then asked them to get his vape out of his jacket pocket so he could have a puff.

The prosecutor added: “A further search of his home found more spray paint was found.”

Whiskin was then charged with criminal damage and breaching his bail conditions and appeared before magistrates in Medway in March and pleaded guilty to both charges.

At the time, 37, postboxes in the Temple area had been vandalised by him, but the cases against him were adjourned and a pre-sentencing report was ordered to be carried out.

He was ordered to return to the same court to hear his fate today.

This post box in St Vincent's Road has been painted to look like a Cadbury Creme Egg
This post box in St Vincent's Road has been painted to look like a Cadbury Creme Egg

But Whiskin, of Chaucer Way, Dartford, couldn’t resist going out again to decorate another postbox.

This time it was the Union Jack design which had been suggested and requested by someone on Facebook after pictures of the other painted postboxes were posted on the site.

When he appeared this afternoon, Ms Moyo told magistrates he had previously pleaded guilty to causing less than £5,000 worth of criminal damage.

But actually after consultation with Royal Mail, it was discovered the boxes cost £150 to repaint into their traditional red and because he had painted another after being bailed by police, in total, the cost to the firm was £5,700.

So she requested the case be reopened today so he could re-enter his pleas to criminal damage worth more than £5,000 and while in the dock, Whiskin admitted the new charge of criminal damage.

Ms Moyo added: “On April 16, he was seen by a post box in Dartford and it was reported to the police and again mobile phone footage was caught of him.

It cost the Royal Mail £150 to refurbish the boxes to their original condition, the iconic red colour.

“He was arrested on April 20 and again police searched his him and similar clothing was found in his bedroom.”

Postboxes in the Temple Hill area of Dartford have been painted in the colours of Mr Blobby and Cadburys Creme Eggs
Postboxes in the Temple Hill area of Dartford have been painted in the colours of Mr Blobby and Cadburys Creme Eggs

The court also heard Whiskin has eight previous convictions for 17 offences including one for criminal damage for which he was jailed for two months and that the latest offences were aggravated by the previous conviction and the fact that he carried out more offences while on bail.

Due to his previous history, magistrates were told they could have sent him to prison but the bench decided to agree with recommendations from the probation service for a community order and a supportive package.

Helgaardt Strydom, defending, said Whiskin’s actions were not sophisticated and although there had been a small degree of planning, he didn’t think the offences passed the custody threshold.

He added: “He lives with his mum and had an unhappy childhood and has five children and only talks to them by mail.

“Life is not a rosy one, it’s a fairly bleak one, he’s doing the best that he can.”

Danny Whiskin, 33, was recorded vandalising postboxes in Dartford earlier this year. Picture: CPS
Danny Whiskin, 33, was recorded vandalising postboxes in Dartford earlier this year. Picture: CPS

The bench was also told there were some mental health issues the probation report had highlighted and he had been accepted by the organisation’s mental health team onto a programme to address those.

Whiskin was placed on an 18-month community order which will see him attend 12 sessions on the mental health programme.

He was also ordered to attend 30 rehabilitation sessions and a thinking skills programme for 26 sessions.

The bench also ordered he carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £2,600 compensation to Royal Mail and a victim surcharge to the courts of £114.

As he is on benefits, Whiskin will pay what he owes the court at a rate of £20 a month and he received no separate penalty for the breach of bail conditions charge.

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