THE Gazette can today name and shame a teenage vandal who sparked outrage by kicking over gravestones and going on a graffiti-spraying rampage.

Sixteen-year-old James Wild was given an anti social behaviour order (Asbo) for a catalogue of crimes in north Colchester. They included an attack on a churchyard and spanned more than three years.

Last month, Wild and an accomplice went on a graffiti-spraying spree, daubing vehicles and homes with paint stolen from an unlocked garage in Dickenson Road.

The letters HWC - High Woods Crew - were sprayed on nearby properties.

"Don't buy me" was sprayed on one home, a court heard.

Juliet Donovan, prosecuting, said properties were targeted at random.

Wild, of Princess Drive, Colchester, admitted theft and criminal damage. He asked for 14 other offences - most graffiti-related - to be taken into consideration.

Harwich Youth Court heard the teenager's criminal record included slashing car tyres and criminal damage. He had been sentenced to referral and supervision orders in the past.

In May last year, he took part in an attack on more than 30 graves in St Michael's churchyard, Myland. The sickening vandalism shocked the local community.

James O'Toole, mitigating, claimed the garage theft was an "impulsive, opportunistic crime" and Wild wanted to apologise to the graffiti victims.

"He has artistic talents but needs to channel them in a more productive manner," said Mr O'Toole, who admitted Wild had been a "dreadful nuisance to society".

PC Robert Hurrell said the attack on gravestones at St Michael's, in Mile End Road, was a "devastating crime".

The vandalism was branded "mindless" in a letter read out in court from a member of the public. It called for "zero tolerance" towards the culprits, adding: "I hope they hang their heads in shame."

Wild was given an antisocial behaviour order, banning him from Myland for two years. It also bars him from defacing property, drinking alcohol in public and using abusive behaviour.

He received an 18-month punishment and rehabilitation order for the graffiti attack, including 60 hours of unpaid work and £250 compensation.

tough Wild was also electronically tagged and given a four-month curfew, preventing him from going out between 7pm and 7am.

Magistrates said the Asbo was to protect the public. They warned Wild he was "more likely than not" to be locked up if he broke the order.

"It is going to be tough on you, but it is giving you the chance to stay out of custody," they said.

"You can not go around deliberately damaging people's property."

  • A second youth also admits criminal damage following last month's graffiti attack. He will be sentenced at a later date.