A teenager has admitted daubing graffiti at 100 locations around Crewkerne – including on buildings, property and even a memorial bench to a young child.
Depressed Dominic Woolley vented his frustrations through spray cans and marker pens, saying he had been in the background all his life and wanted people to notice him.
After being caught red-handed by police trying to dispose of a silver pen, he confessed to his crime and took them around Crewkerne pointing out 100 different places that he had damaged.
South Somerset Magistrates were told that ironically Woolley, who was now on medication for depression, worked as a volunteer Beaver leader in the town and for other charities aimed at keeping youngsters occupied and keeping them off the streets.
The 19-year-old, of Middle Path, Crewkerne, pleaded guilty to damaging a memorial bench belonging to Dee Webb between April 1 and May 25.
He also admitted damaging green service boxes belonging to Wessex Sewage, a rear garden wall belonging to Alan Williams and a garage door belonging to Raymond Tett.
He asked for 51 other similar offences to be taken into consideration.
Woolley was sentenced to a 12-month community order with requirements to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work which could involve removing some of his own graffiti.
He was also ordered to pay £100 compensation for the memorial bench and £40 each for the damaged wall and garage door along with £85 costs.
The owner of the bench, Dee Webb, said she had arranged for the bench to be placed at Crewkerne Cemetery in memory of her daughter who had died at a young age.
She went there on May 6 which was close to the fifth anniversary and was heartbroken to find that someone had damaged it.
After the court hearing, Mrs Webb said: “I can’t say I can judge this person because I don’t know him, but I was very angry and upset when I found the bench had been vandalised. We plan to take the bench home from the cemetery to clean it properly and fix it up a bit as well.”
Prosecutor Sarah Rhodes said that police were patrolling the Blacknell Lane trading estate in Crewkerne at 8.45pm on April 27 when they saw Woolley trying to hide what he had in his right hand. They seized a silver marker pen and then saw silver writing in the form of a graffiti tag on boxes belonging to Wessex Water.
“He was arrested and when police searched his home address they found several graffiti tags on pieces of paper, one in particular which was similar to one that had been appearing around Crewkerne, along with some pens and other graffiti work,” she said.
“He said he had put graffiti on the boxes belonging to Wessex Water to try and gain some recognition as he wanted people to notice him. He said he had been in the background all his life and wanted people to know who he was although knew what he did was wrong and wanted to apologise.”
Defending solicitor Chris Ivory said that Woolley had found himself in a very serious situation which had had some devastating effects on some of the victims.
“He can only apologise and had no idea the bench was a memorial and wants to make amends,” he said.
“He is not a mindless vandal and has volunteered for various voluntary networks and also as a Beaver leader.”
He added that with the imposition of an unpaid work order there was the potential for Woolley to pay his debt to society by helping to clean up his own mess as punishment.