Source: telegraph.co.uk – 18.6.2013
Kristian Holmes, a father-of-two, caused more than £250,000 worth of damage and forced trains out of service after defacing them.
Holmes, 32, sprayed his ‘VAMP’ tag across railways and trains, and was even found in Ibiza.
The £60,000-a-year office worker, of Sidcup, South-East London, was a leading member of the ‘PS crew’ which defaced property with tags and crude drawings.
He used an A-Z London street map to mark locations he had vandalised, along with notes on how to avoid being caught scrawled in the margins.
Holmes was joined by accomplices including 4ft 3in Matthew Mandell, 30, who needed a step ladder to reach the trains.
They regularly posed as maintenance workers wearing Network Rail high-visibility jackets and trousers to avoid suspicion.
But when Holmes realised he was being investigated by the police, he created a series of YouTube videos showing a mixed race man spraying his distinctive tag.
He was finally arrested at his workplace, RI Building Services, in Bromley, South-East London, in April 2010.
Searches uncovered a vast amount of evidence of his secret life, including spray can nozzles and paint-splattered gloves.
Jailing him at Blackfriars Crown Court in London, Judge Deva Pillay said: “These defacing attacks upon the property of others was at times so prolific that it could justly be described, on occasions, as occurring on an industrial scale.
“The costs incurred by the railway companies and owners of property, and ultimately the community at large to clear up this unsightly mess, was and is very substantial indeed.”
Holmes began vandalising in 2003, when he defaced the steam-powered Bluebell Railway in Sussex in 2003.
CCTV showed Holmes and four others vaulting the fence at night to cause £3,000 of damage.
He was linked to the offence from DNA on a discarded cigarette, left at the scene among empty paint cans.
Prosecutor James Murray-Smith said the total damage was estimated at £250,000, one of the highest value criminal damage cases to come to court.
He told the jury: “Mr Holmes is a prolific graffiti vandal. We are not talking here about witty imaginative images such as those I expect you are familiar with by Banksy … I would suggest what you are dealing with is simple damage.
“It is damage which to the vast majority of the public is tedious and depressing.”
Brian Stork, for Holmes, said that his client had “matured” considerably since his arrest, meeting his partner and becoming a father in that time.
He said: “It is very sad to see a well-qualified gentleman, a surveyor who built up a successful career, have that career effectively shattered by proven misbehaviour.”
In 2009 Holmes was seen writing on a wall in Brick Lane, East London. But police released him with a warning after he claimed he was only reading the graffiti.
He was jailed for two-and-a half years for 39 counts of criminal damage, and sentenced to a further 12 months for attempting to pervert the course of justice with the false YouTube videos.