Graffiti vandal is jailed for 28 months
A NOTORIOUS Scots graffiti artist was behind bars today after being hit with the toughest jail sentence ever imposed by a Scottish court for vandalism.
Gary Shields was jailed for 28 months by a sheriff after he admitted causing £270,000 of damage by spray painting graffiti on trains and public property.
The 21-year-old had been hunted down by police after conducting a prolonged spraying spree across the west of Scotland as part of a gang calling themselves the Eazy Riders.
Known as Daze, his distinctive tag’ had been painted on trains and railway stations in Glasgow, Ayr, Paisley and Helensburgh since 2005.
But Shields of Crookston, Glasgow, is now in prison after he admitted eight offences of malicious damage at Ayr Sheriff Court.
Shields’ sentence was welcomed by British Transport Police. Detective Chief Inspector Jim McKelvie said: “This sends out the signal that graffiti is nothing other than vandalism.
“This man put himself in great danger as well as endangering the lives of rail staff and passengers.
“When this type of crime is committed we routinely photograph the damage and add it to the comprehensive graffiti database we have on known graffiti offenders.
“We exchange this intelligence with our colleagues in other police forces throughout Scotland which has helped us build up a picture of graffiti crime across the country.”
Shields’ jail term is thought to be the harshest sentence imposed by a Scottish court for such offences.
In 2007 an English graffiti gangleader was jailed for two months at Perth Sheriff Court and ordered to pay £1150 compensation to cover clean up costs.
Dudley Halls, 29, who boasted a 13-year history of vandalism before being jailed, was caught after two teenage girls spotted his gang in action.
Last night a police source said officers had been hunting down Shields for the past three years.
The source added: “Some people view this as art. But it’s just plain vandalism. These guys put themselves and transport workers at risk with their nonsense.”
Publication date 20/03/08