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Manchester graffiti gang jailed for causing £77k of damage during rail rampage

LEACH Dominic DOB02111992 T2017.jpg

Dominic Leach

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A graffiti gang from Manchester who blighted the rail network with graffiti, causing £77,000 of damage, have been sentenced.

The five men, who are Manchester-based members of the self-named SMT and LWI graffiti crews, pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage relating to 43 offences and were sentenced at Manchester Crown Court yesterday.

The 43 offences took place predominantly in the North West of England over an 18-month period between July 2015 and December 2016.
Two of the men, brothers Dominic Leach (25) and Niall Leach (24) of Hulbert Street, Middleton, Manchester, were both jailed for 12 months.

Elliot Scott (25) of Tunstead Lane, Greenfield, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake 250 hours unpaid work and pay £500 costs.

Christopher Uthman (24) of Bullfinch Walk, Manchester, was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Maksym Tyshkul (20) of Bury Old Road, Prestwich, was sentenced to a 10-month jail term, suspended for two years, 180 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Following initial reports of damage to trains by a number of operators including Virgin Trains, Northern Rail, London Underground, Thameslink Govia, Chiltern, Freightliner and Manchester Metrolink BTP launched an investigation.

Enquiries identified Dominic Leach  and as Tyshkul as potential suspects and as a result warrants were obtained to search their home addresses in on 21 April 2016.

Further evidence then led officers to Scott and Uthman, who were arrested on 8 December 2016.

As enquiries continued on 1 March 2017, Dominic Leach and Niall Leach were arrested at their home addresses as part of the investigation.

During house searches of all the crew members, incriminating evidence was uncovered including messages, mobile calls and chats linking the group, video footage, trophy photographs and paint cans. 

After initially replying no comment and not guilty when asked about their involvement in the damage, due to the evidence placed before them the group had no choice but to change their plea to guilty.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Tony McGibbon, said: “This was a lengthy and complex investigation. In total, 43 offences have been linked to this group which have collaboratively cost the rail industry some £77,000 in repair bills. 
“The cost of repairing graffiti is enormous. Network Rail estimates that each year they spend in the region of £5 million cleaning graffiti vandalism, which is a huge amount of money which could be invested back into the network.

It also poses grave danger to the individuals involved. Railway lines are operational 24 hours a day, trespassing at any time of the day can prove fatal. Trains reach extremely high speeds and strong currents also run through the cables and can pass 650 volts through anyone who touches them.

“If you notice anyone acting suspiciously or vandalising the railway, you can easily report it to us by discreetly texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40.”

Notes to editors
Photos of Dominic and Niall Leach who received custodial sentences attached.  

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Niall Leach

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