Graffiti teenagers on clean up duties as their penalty

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TWO boys spent a morning clearing rubbish after being caught vandalising a car park with graffiti.

The teenagers, aged 15 and 16, met with a council street warden to learn the effects of their actions.

On December 23 last year the pair were caught on CCTV spraying graffiti in the Carlisle Parade underground car park. They were arrested and admitted causing criminal damage.

With the consent of Hastings Borough Council, the boys took part in a Community Resolution, a scheme that means offenders make amends and recognise the impact of their behaviour, without them being criminalised for first-time or lower-level crimes.

The boys and their parents met representatives from the council in a meeting set up by PC Alison Puddefoot where the teenagers learned about the consequences and cost of clearing up the graffiti and apologised for what they had done.

To make up for their actions, they agreed to spend a Saturday morning assisting street warden Sarah Croucher.

She said: “It seemed to make them realise doing things like that has an affect on other people. Their mindless actions had consequences. I was impressed with their attitude when they joined me on the Saturday.

“They worked really hard and cleared six black bags worth of rubbish from the rocks at the back of the West Hill Café.

“This is a good way to deal with things. It showed the boys it wasn’t a faceless crime. To meet the people that had been affected had a real effect.

“They were reasonable lads and were receptive of what we had to tell them.”

The mother of one of the boys said: “This is a really good idea, a much better way to deal with things for the boys to meet those affected face-to-face.

“We were surprised to hear how much it costs the council to remove graffiti and the boys learned more of a lesson than if they had received a reprimand.

“My son was pleased to be given the opportunity to say sorry and happy to do the work to make up for what he had done.”