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Outrage over graffiti artist's sentence

By This is Kent  |  Posted: May 14, 2010

  • Controversial sentence: Graffiti vandal Tom Stanley, who designed artwork at the Tap n' Tin, has been jailed for 18 months

  • Impressive: Enigma wine bar employee Ruth Heeney admires the work of Tom Stanley (pictured right)

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A GRAFFITI artist who decorated several of Medway's bars and clubs has been given a jail sentence for spraying trains.

Tom Stanley, 24, is responsible for the distinctive murals at the Enigma wine bar, Rochester, and the Tap 'n' Tin, Chatham.

Last month, he was given an 18-month prison sentence for graffiti-tagging trains up and down the country, causing £50,000 of damage.

Within 24 hours of the decision, more than 1,500 people had joined an internet group calling for the sentence to be reduced, branding it "ridiculous".

Stanley's work can be seen in the garden of the Enigma bar.

Assistant manager James Corbin said: "He used to come down and graffiti promotional boards for us for free. His work was always top notch and he always put in 100 per cent.

"We kept some of it and have some on display because it was so good. He was a good guy and I always thought it was nice what he did for us.

"The prison sentence is a joke. I've seen people get caught with a couple of bags of coke and get a slap on the wrist."

Stanley was also responsible for the graffiti art that decorates the interior of the Tap 'n' Tin.

A female friend, who we agreed not to name, said: "His sentence is ridiculous. A lot of people do worse things and get let off for it.

"He's a really nice boy. He doesn't drink or do drugs and has really high values."

Stanley was due to graduate from a visual communication degree at the University for the Creative Arts in Maidstone in a fortnight.

He targeted trains in Faversham, Ashford, Surrey, Wiltshire and Manchester between 2005 and 2008.

He was found guilty of 12 incidents of criminal damage and sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court.

Dozens of angry comments have been posted on the Support Tom Stanley page on Facebook, which had 2,187 members by Tuesday, May 4.

Speaking after the sentencing, transport police's Det Con Will Livings said: "Those who commit graffiti offences often believe that their work is art.

"Sadly when the chosen canvas is railway property, it cannot be considered art and is nothing more than wanton damage."

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    TJ, Paddock Wood  |  May 14 2010, 2:26PM

    But he is a real criminal, and deserves all he gets. graffiti artist he may be, but spraying on trains is vandalism. Pity more vandals don't get the same treatment, then this country would be a better place.

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    Mike K-S, Canterbury  |  May 14 2010, 2:05PM

    Now go out and catch some real criminals. fools.

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