Graffiti costing thousands

EAST Anglian rail operator 'one' spends tens of thousands of pounds a year cleaning up after graffiti artists, it emerged today.

EAST Anglian rail operator 'one' spends tens of thousands of pounds a year cleaning up its carriages and locomotives after they are attacked by graffiti artists, it emerged today.

Company spokesman Peter Meades said dealing with graffiti was an ongoing problem after one of the country's most prolific vandals appeared in court accused of causing £62,000-worth of damage to trains across the country.

James Addison, 18, "tagged" trains and railway buildings throughout the country but walked free from court.

He received a 12-month referral order and an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) banning him from carrying paint in public places, and ordered him to pay a total of £2,530 in compensation at Leeds Youth Court.

Among Addison's victims was a 'one' train at Chingford in Essex - one of the worst hotspots on the network, according to Mr Meades.

He said: “We tend to find that the graffiti problem gets worse and better from time to time. Chingford and Ipswich are places where we have had problems in the past.

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“We spend thousands of pounds having to clean up our trains - over a year the amount we have to spend on clearing graffiti runs well into five figures.

“But we work very closely with the British Transport Police and at the moment that work does seem to be paying off to some extent because things are not as bad as they have been at some times in the past.”

Some rail companies have attracted criticism in the past for allowing their trains to be used as mobile advertising hoardings carrying images that can look like graffiti.

But Mr Meades said 'one' was very careful about allowing adverts on the side of their trains: “We do have some advertising on some of our local services, but it looks nothing like graffiti.”

Is graffiti a major problem - or does it brighten up our trains? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail>

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