Vandals jailed for £250,000 Northern Railway Crime Spree

4 May 2011

Yorkshire graffiti vandals who carried out a six-year £250,000 campaign against the railway have been jailed for eight months.

James Steward (27), Jack Rodgers (26) and Daniel Jay-Webster (25) appeared at York Crown Court yesterday, Tuesday, having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

Daniel Jay-Webster, Jack Rodgers & James Steward
Daniel Jay-Webster, Jack Rodgers & James Steward


The court heard Steward, Rodgers and Jay-Webster were part of a graffiti ‘crew’ called NKA and that, between January 2003 and February 2009, they had worked together to daub graffiti – using the ‘tags’ of OGRE, HACK and TWOK – on trains throughout the north of England from Liverpool, Crewe, Buxton and Wigan to Harrogate, Skipton, Leeds and Wakefield.

Investigations by British Transport Police also revealed that damage had also been caused to trains and property in London, Bristol, continental Europe and even the Far East and Australia.

PC Tony McGibbon, who investigated for BTP, said: “These three vandals, as part of a prolific graffiti crew, are jointly responsible for around £250,000 of damage that was caused to trains and stations across the country between 2003 and 2009.

“They cared little for the impact their wanton destruction would have others and were only interested in enhancing and furthering their own reputations amongst the graffiti vandal fraternity”.

“Some people argue that graffiti is art and not vandalism, but when the graffiti is written or sprayed, without permission, on private or public property then it loses any artistic credibility and becomes a criminal act.”

British Transport Police were fully alerted to the activities of the three vandals when five men were disturbed spraying graffiti on a train in Harrogate in February 2009.

Two managed to escape, but three – Rodgers, of Bramble Grove, Poole in Wharfedale, an Italian man and a Portuguese man – were arrested at the scene. Steward, of Mitchell Close, Simpson Green, and Jay-Webster, of Stanningley Road, Armley were found to have been involved in this offence and were arrested at a later date.

The subsequent investigation found evidence which linked Steward, Rodgers and Jay-Webster to their tags and the damage to the trains.

Officers also traced their activities back to 2003 which included offences against Northern Rail, First Transpennine Express, Merseyrail, Midland Mainline, Virgin Trains and London Underground.

PC McGibbon added: “This case should serve as a stark warning to others who get their kicks from destroying the property of others.

“BTP takes graffiti extremely seriously and officers will use any tactics at their disposal to trace offenders and bring them to justice.

“The sentence handed out also clearly demonstrates that the wider criminal justice system recognises the damage caused by graffiti vandals and will bring strict sanctions to bear against anyone found guilty of the offences.”





  1. What ever happend to community service these days.
    You see perverts and rapists walk free from courts for a lot worse. Why not take a mop and bucket and made to clean it off. The train services rob us everyday also with there jokey prices for tickets anyways. How come Banksy has never been charged for what he does? His work just goes up in value the longer it is up. This sentance is unfair and destroyed three people’s futures.

  2. £250,000 is a lie. The train companies exaggerate the cost of the clean up on there trains. These guys are punished for a crime that has left nobody injured nor was anything stolen or was it drug related. It seems these days the justice system has got there priorities totally mixed up. The police spending time and money on graffiti while there are much more serious serious crimes happening. This kind of crime should be at the bottom of there list. And yes graffiti is a crime but is it really a crime that deserved prison??? why spend more money locking them away. why not make them serve time and effort back into the community cleaning up graffiti, or litter or helping out at charity centres etc.

  3. I totally agree with Arthur, community service and/or a fine would suffice for as punishment, jail time for this is very steep. And yes Banksy would have charged £250,000 for a piece of graff and some snotty lawyer would have paid that too. Backwards world where fame and money helps people get away with murder whilst the average Joe gets trampled for painting some objects.

  4. As a tax payer I object to having to pay the cost of taking this case to court, on behalf of already grossly subsidised private train operators who are constantly increasing the cost of fares, putting passengers in danger with drastic cost-cutting to increase their profit margin, whilst failing to provide a halfway-decent service.

    Again the authorities in their wisdom send the message that the voice of youth will always be suppressed, creativity will always be stifled (the only good art is that which is ‘profitable’), and greedy capitalists will always be protected.

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