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Man drew on vehicles with permanent marker in “mindless campaign” of criminal damage

PUBLISHED: 17:15 04 October 2018

Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court. Photo: Nick Butcher

Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court. Photo: Nick Butcher

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A 58-year-old man who was caught drawing on vehicles with a permanent marker carried out a campaign of “mindless damage” to property - committing 72 counts of criminal damage in eight months.

Steven Walpole, of Rochester Road, Lowestoft, was handed a 12 month Community Order when he appeared before Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, October 3.

In March police officers spotted Walpole damaging a vehicle in Lowestoft with a black permanent marker pen and he was subsequently charged with five counts of causing criminal damage to vehicles.

However between being charged and being dealt with Walpole admitted 67 other criminal damage offences involving vehicles and property to Suffolk Police’s Operation Converter team.

All of the offences were carried out by in Lowestoft between August 2017 and March this year.

On Wednesday he was given a 12 month community order which includes 200 hours unpaid work and five rehabilitation days.

He was also ordered to pay £1,709 in compensation.

DC Duncan Etchells spoke of the devastating impact Walpole’s actions have had on the local community.

He said: “This mindless damage to people’s vehicles and property causes real damage to the victims. It is not only limited to financial loss and can have much broader impact across our communities.”

“The message to criminals is simple; if we have information that you are damaging people’s property, or graffiting offensive messages, we will use all powers and tactics available to us to arrest you and ensure the courts deal with you appropriately.”

Operation Converter is an initiative aimed at encouraging offenders to admit their crimes.

A police spokesman said: “This has benefits for all – police are able to give victims some peace of mind that an offender has been caught for the burglary of their home or the theft of their property and the individual has the opportunity to clear their slate so they can have a fresh start when they are released from prison, without the possibility they will later be traced for a further offence.

“Offenders have to give sufficient detail for officers to be sure they have committed the crime and these offences are then ‘taken into consideration’ at sentencing. The judge will look at all the offences before determining the sentence.”

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