A Lewisham man has been sentenced to 21 months in prison after admitting a £69,000 spree of criminal damage that involved spraying graffiti on trains, railway bridges and ‘tagging’ Nelson’s column during last year’s student protests.
Lewis Shillingford, 24, of Viney Street, Lewisham, pleaded guilty to 22 counts of criminal damage and was handed a custodial sentence and subjected to a five year anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) at Blackfriars Crown Court last Friday 9 December.
He had been arrested by the British Transport Police (BTP) after a ‘tag’ – of which he had been convicted for spraying in 2002 – began to reappear this year in south London. Police linked him to the tag name of ‘CHEWZ’ through a Facebook page on which it appeared.
On arrest the name was found on images in his mobile phone and was written in dust on a television screen in his room. He was found in possession of graffiti materials.
Shillingford was subsequently charged with criminal damage, burglary, trespass and common assault. He failed to return after being released on conditional bail in August but police apprehended him again on November 1.
On Friday the court heard how Shillingford daubed the historic Nelson’s column with graffiti during the 2010 student protests.
Police estimate the total cost of damage to be in the region of £69,000. This included over £5,000 worth of damage to Catford Railway station and £2,000 at Brockley station.
The terms of the ASBO bar Shillingford from carrying in public any materials, such as paint and marker pens, that could be used for the purpose of graffiti. He is also prohibited from entering non-public zones of railway property.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Jeremy Walley said: “The costs of graffiti are substantial for the railway industry in terms of repairs and clean-up, and can leave permanent scars on the infrastructure.
“Lets be clear, this is a crime on a large scale with real victims. It is planned and well-organised, with the sole intention of causing as much damage and disruption to passengers as possible.”