A PINT-SIZED graffiti vandal who caused more than £40,000 worth of damage across Rickmansworth, 11 London boroughs, Sussex and Kent has been jailed for nine months.

Matthew Mandell, 27, who is 4ft 3in tall, admitted criminal damage and was handed the sentence at Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday).

He was also given a five-year anti social behaviour order (asbo), banning him from entering London Underground property not open to the public and from carrying graffiti related materials in public.

The court heard that Mandell caused the damage over a two-year-period between January 2008 and March this year.

He targeted buildings, trains, stations and infrastructure in Rickmansworth on March 12 last year, and 11 London boroughs, including Harrow, causing damage to a train in Stanmore on Christmas Day last year.

He was arrested on January 14 this year after being linked to a graffiti tag daubed on a train in Three Bridges, Sussex, a few days earlier.

After taking photographs of the train, British Transport Police (BTP) detectives checked the tag against a police graffiti database, linking it to Mandell.

Detectives searched his home in Castleton Road, Mitcham, and found various graffiti-related paraphernalia, including pieces of paper with the tag sketched on, spray paint cans and marker pens.

Mandell was released on police bail after being questioned in custody, while investigators carried our further enquiries.

Using handwriting analysis, detectives compared the tags daubed on the train at Three Bridges with other photographs of the tag in the other locations, with the unique style and characteristics confirming Mandell as the culprit.

The court also heard that while Mandell continued to re-offend while he was released on police bail, smearing a train in Shepherds Well, Kent, in March this year.

Detective Constable Colin Saysell said: "Vandals like Mandell who commit graffiti offences often believe their work is art – sadly when the chosen canvas is railway property, it cannot be considered art and is nothing more than wanton damage that costs thousands of pounds to clean up.

"Writing graffiti on the railway or elsewhere is not a harmless pastime and we hope the sentence handed down to Mandell acts as a deterrent to other like-minded individuals."