Published: 14:00, 26 January 2017
Two vandals have been jailed after they went on a graffiti rampage spraying 20 buildings in one night in Tunbridge Wells with anti-Semitic and Polish football slogans.
Sebastian Tancula had only arrived in the country that day when he and Damian Filipek set about spraying shops, businesses, homes and a public toilet with red paint.
The graffiti included “Wisla Sharks”, who follow Wisla Krakow FC and are known in Poland for violence and anti-Semitism, and the Star of David symbol, as well as a racial phrase.
Maidstone Crown Court said one of the men wore a Wisla shirt. The other acted as "crowd-control", preventing anybody from stopping them.
Customers and staff at a pub alerted CCTV operators in the town and the police. One man followed Tancula and Filipek, both 27, on their trail of destruction on November 17 last year.
When they were eventually arrested at the train station their hands were covered in paint.
“It might be said they were literally caught red-handed,” said prosecutor Mary Jacobson.
Tunbridge Wells council was left with a clean-up bill of £2,641, but businesses and home owners were still likely to be out of pocket.
Tancula, of no fixed address, and Filipek, of Beech Street, Tunbridge Wells, admitted 18 offences of damaging property and two of causing racially aggravated damage to property.
One business affected was Rencraft Kitchens in Calverley Road, which was due to have its grand opening the next day. It caused the owners “outrage, shock and upset”.
"They were literally caught red-handed" - Prosecutor Mary Jacobson
Bosses of Multiyork Interiors, also in Calverley Road, complained the graffiti degraded its premises and caused a financial loss.
The court heard Filipek met Tancula at Stansted airport that day and they went out drinking.
Jailing them for 22 weeks each, Judge Charles Macdonald QC said prison was inevitable in order to punish them and deter others.
“The expression of such anti-Semitic ideas is deeply offensive,” he said.
The judge expressed surprise at the “modest” clean-up bill.
Craig Evans, for Filipek, said the scrapyard worker had been in the UK for four years and was “sincerely remorseful” for committing the offences.
Danny Moore, defending Tancula, said the machine operator had an interest in Wisla Krakow FC but was not a football hooligan.
Any anti-Semitic feeling, he said, was directed towards the Jewish allegiance to Wisla Krakow’s rival team, rather than the wider Jewish community.
More by this authorKeith Hunt