GRAFFITI vandals from Feltham, Kingston and Twickenham who caused an estimated £270,000 worth of damage to trains have been jailed for a total of six years.
The gang of six men admitted daubing their 'tags' on more than 125 trains and tube carriages over a two-year period from February 2006 to November 2007.
They would mainly go out at night, breaking into train depots across west London and further afield, but as their crimes went unpunished they grew increasingly brazen.
On two occasions they even stopped moving vehicles, once by pulling the emergency brake of a train in Gunnersbury, and set to work as passengers disembarked. They were sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on November 27.
Adam Baigent, 21, of The Alders, Hanworth; Frazer Howie, 23, of Ailsa Road, Twickenham; and Benjamin Standen, 21, of Chaplin Crescent, Sunbury, were all sentenced to 15 months behind bars. Scott Offord, 21, of Jillian Close, Hampton, was jailed for 18 months, and Jason Newman, 22, of Sunbury Road, Feltham, received nine months in a younger offender institution. Stephen Byrne, 20, of Cardinal Avenue, Kingston, was given a six-month suspended sentence and ordered to do 200 hours community service.
The investigation began after a red Fiat Punto, believed to be linked to the theft of some champagne, was pulled over in Twickenham. Police found spray cans, bolt cutters and several photos of damaged trains in the boot of the car.
When detectives later searched their homes they discovered hundreds of photos showing the gang's work, including many of them in action.
Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Shanahan, of British Transport Police, said: "They were intent on criminality and went to great lengths to plan their attacks on trains. They did not commit random acts of vandalism but conspired together to go out and commit crime. During one house search we found more than 400 photographs of the damage they had caused to trains."
Howard Collins, chief operating officer of London Underground, said: "The group’s actions cost thousands of pounds and resulted in trains being taken out of service. As well as causing unnecessary delays and distress to our passengers, they also put their own lives in danger."