Two men who caused £72,000 worth of damage to West Sussex railway stations last Christmas, before bragging about it on Instagram, have been handed suspended sentences, a British Transport Police spokesperson has confirmed.
Adam Norman, 27, of Ashdown Road in Worthing, and Dovydas Butkus, 20, of Harlech Close in Durrington pleaded guilty to conspiracy to destroy/damage property at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday, November 1, the spokesperson said.
The conspiracy charge compiled 13 different offences across West Sussex where Norman and Butkus had caused around £72,000 worth of damage in total, said the spokesperson.
On Christmas Day 2015, between 2am and 3am, they caused criminal damage of graffiti to Worthing station subway, said the spokesperson.
They also offended in Horsham and also caused damage to trains and infrastructure at Barnham, Haywards Heath and Lancing, the spokesperson said.
PC Paul Burtoft and PC Alan Jenner of British Transport Police Brighton set up Operation Jargon in October in an attempt to erase the offending from the network and, after seven months of investigation, arrested both Norman and Butkus at their respective homes in morning raids, the spokesperson said.
During the raids, over 60 items were recovered that tied the pair to the offences, confirmed the spokesperson.
Norman and Butkus were further linked to the offences by Instagram accounts that had been used to publish and brag about their offending, according to the spokesperson.
Both men were sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years at Lewes Crown Court on Friday, December 1, the spokesperson said.
Norman was ordered to undertake 100 hours of community service and Butkus was ordered to undertake 80 hours of community service, confirmed the spokesperson.
They were both given a £1200 fine and ordered to pay a £100 surcharge, and handed a six month curfew which means they may not leave their homes between 8.30pm and 5am, said the spokesperson.
Destruction of all spray cans and associated equipment was also ordered, added the spokesperson.
PC Burtoft said: “We hope that this conviction will deter anyone who is thinking of committing criminal damage on the rail network in Sussex from doing so.
“Graffiti can cause tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage, putting trains out of service and impacting on rail passengers in terms of delays and disruption to their journey because trains are out of use, and costing rail companies and ultimately passengers money.
“There is also a real risk to life of those committing the offences, freight trains run throughout and the danger of being hit by one is real along with the risk of electrocution from electrified rails.
“We hope that Norman and Butkus learn from their conviction and find a better way to spend Christmas this year.
“With the 180 hours of community service they have been sentenced to, perhaps they will spend the day helping others and giving something back to their local community this Christmas instead of causing misery and destruction.”
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