“Fagin” tagger sentenced

By on 13/08/2010 in News

bler-005One of Birmingham's most prolific taggers who is believed to have encouraged teenagers to follow his example through a number of social networking sites, has been sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court.

Lawrence Davies (20), of Ashbrook Road, Stirchley, was charged with 3 counts of criminal damage.

He was sentenced to an 18 month supervision order, given a 6 month curfew meaning he has to be at home from 7pm to 7am and fined £300.

Davies is believed to be the head of a tagging “crew” known as TFC (Total F***ing Chaos or Theft, Females and Criminal Damage or Time for Crime). The crew also uses the name TFK.

junction where Warner St meets Camp Hill

junction where Warner St meets Camp Hill

Davies predominantly uses the tag name BLER, although occasionally also uses the tags YEA5, YEA, and YEAS. He has previously used the tag names PES, FAKE, SOBER and FAEK.

Membership of the TFC crew is city wide, and Davies' tags have also been found across the city and in other local authority areas, including Sandwell and Solihull. His tags have been seen on buses, lampposts, cable boxes, road signs, beside railway lines and on both private and council property.

junction where Warner St meets Camp Hill

junction where Warner St meets Camp Hill

Under Birmingham's Anti-Graffiti Strategy, in 2009, a small intelligence group comprised of officers from Birmingham City Council's Anti-Graffiti Unit, British Transport Police and Safer Travel (West Midlands Police, Safer Birmingham Partnership, National Express West Midlands and transport authority Centro), was established to focus on a very small number of cross city prolific taggers. Davies soon emerged as one of the key figures.

Through investigations, officers established a pattern of behaviour for Davies, whose main activity outside of home appeared to revolve around the mindless tagging of public property, usually in association with others.

25th Nov 2009 alleyway between Moor Green Lane & Elizabeth Rd

25th Nov 2009 alleyway between Moor Green Lane & Elizabeth Rd

Commenting on today's sentencing, Hasan Wazir from Birmingham City Council's Anti-Graffiti Unit, says:

“Lawrence Davies' behaviour has been a major drain on the city's precious finances. We have had to spend a lot of time and money on clearing up his mess, and related tagging that we believe he inspired. This is obviously money that could be used for much more deserving causes.

25th Jan junction where Warner St meets Camp Hill

25th Jan junction where Warner St meets Camp Hill

“Rather than finding something useful to do, it is our belief that Davies set himself up as a “Fagin” character to impressionable young teenagers, encouraging them to go out and vandalise public property.

“This is no Banksy we're dealing with. Anyone who has seen the quality of Davies' tags can see for themselves that it has no more artistic merit than a scrawl on the back of a school exercise book.

“Unfortunately for the city, he has chosen to scrawl his name on bus windows, shelters, railway bridges and numerous buildings, blighting the environment for everybody else.”

25th Jan 2010 corner of Lowe Street and Camp Hill

25th Jan 2010 corner of Lowe Street and Camp Hill

A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said:

“Writing graffiti on the railway or elsewhere is not a harmless pastime and we hope the sentence handed down to vandals like Davies acts as a deterrent to other like-minded individuals.

“The risks which offenders take can be staggering and those who vandalise line side railway property often place themselves at serious risk, where they have no refuge from approaching trains, or close to overhead power lines, or in areas where there are trip hazards. Offenders also risk getting their feet trapped in railway points.”

16th Dec 2009 junction where Warner St meets Camp Hill

16th Dec 2009 junction where Warner St meets Camp Hill

“BTP will continue to work closely with train operating companies, Network Rail, other police forces and partnership organisations to crack down on these criminal acts and ensure those responsible are punished.”

Safer Travel Inspector Cate Webb-Jones from West Midlands Police, said:

 “Davies has shown complete disregard for others property and the impact his anti-social behaviour has on the environment and the community. This sentence serves to show that criminal damage across our neighbourhoods will not be tolerated and we will bring offenders to justice.”

2nd February 2010 Smithfield House

2nd February 2010 Smithfield House

ENDS

For more information please contact Hayley Meachin on 0121 303 1271/ 07920 750007  hayley.meachin@birmingham.gov.uk

Notes to Editors

Safer Travel

Safer Travel, a partnership between West Midlands Police, Safer Birmingham Partnership, National Express West Midlands and transport authority Centro, works to make bus travel even safer for passengers by deterring crime and anti-social behaviour on the network.

Background to today's Davies' case:

In conjunction with British Transport Police and the Safer Travel initiative, Davies was initially subject to two investigations run through Birmingham City Council's Environmental Crime Unit in May 2009 and February 2010 respectively.

Davies was subsequently charged with 13 offences on the 18th August 2009, 5 charges were dealt with by Birmingham Magistrates’ Court:

Davies spent 67 days on remand and pleaded guilty to all counts except one.

The judge looked at Davies’ previous convictions, the sentencing guidelines, case history and the pre-sentence reports. The Judge was also keen to understand why Davies continued to persist in his behaviour.

The explanation given by defence counsel at the time was that Davies had had a difficult upbringing and was bullied as a result of his intelligence. Despite gaining a place at grammar school, he was unable to take up the place. In addition, Davies claimed to find it difficult to make friends, and he finally found acceptance within a small group of young teenagers who tagged. The Court also heard that Davies had found remand hard and had learnt from his experience.

The judge stated that he didn’t regard peer pressure as an acceptable explanation. He said he could ‘easily impose a sentence of another 6 months’ but that he didn’t want to send people to prison unless he had to, he told Davies to choose, to exercise his intelligence, to come back on the 26th March 2010 and demonstrate that he had done something to sort himself out, like get a job.

Davies was released pending sentencing that was deferred through various adjournments to May 2010.

The intelligence group noticed fresh tags appearing in the city, and a further investigation took place in February 2010. Officers observed 19 potential offences by Davies and an unknown group of teenage males accompanying him.

During this time, and unrelated to the investigation, Davies was remanded to HMP Winson Green, in connection with graffiti spraying on the back of Selly Oak Library.

At the sentencing hearing for another batch of offences at Birmingham Magistrates Court on 19th July 2010, Davies was granted bail, with a tag and curfew of 7pm-7am. The Judge commented that:

“he could not ask the people of Birmingham who live in this city to put up with (Davies') dim-witted actions any more”.

Prior to this, on 4th June 2010, the Judge produced a document he had drafted himself and passed it to Davies with the advice that he could either sign this document voluntarily or alternatively he could write down for the court a full account of  ‘why he had been behaving like he had and what would stop him’.  The document produced by the judge read:

“I, Lawrence Davies would prefer to go to prison rather than stop painting on other people’s walls.”

In leaving this offer with Davies, the judge said that if he continued to offend he would be sent to prison; not on the basis of the offences before the court, but as a means to prevent future offending and that it would be a long sentence.

Inter crew rivalry - TFC and IBS crews

IBS (Insane But Sick) graffiti crew members Lee William Brend  (tag name DUSK) and James Anthony Delaney (tag name PEAK) appeared in Birmingham Crown Court on 23rd February 2010 to be sentenced in relation to the assault and stabbing of TFC crew member, Oliver Lynch (tag name HUSH) using a biro pen. 4cm of this pen were removed from his neck in hospital. The offence took place on the 24th January 2009 at Bordesley railway station.

Brend (aged 22) was given an 18 months custodial sentence. Delaney (aged 23) was given a 15 months custodial sentence. Delaney was also sentenced on 3 other counts. (1. Handling stolen goods (4 months to run consecutively), 2. Aggravated vehicle taking (2 months to run consecutively), 3. Possession of cannabis (1 week to run concurrently).These 3 offences were not linked to the assault. In total Delaney was given a 21 months custodial sentence.

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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Kavan Hawker says:

    This is fantastic to hear of criminal acts like this being bought to justice. Many of these graffiti crews are linked to violent criminal activity such as muggings, attacks, prostitution, drug dealing and selling of stolen goods.

    The sooner these groups are apprehended and bought to justice the better.

    Well Done!!

  2. lawrence davies says:

    this information is at best flawed.. how could I have been remanded to Winson Green when I still am not 21..lol.
    alot of this is just hinted speculation about what you think might have gone on..and the stuff printed in the papers.

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