Police give Tyneside graffiti teens chance to change with intervention programme

“Where possible and appropriate, we want to reduce the criminalisation of young people in our communities.”

The graffiti happened in Sunderland but was linked to South Tyneside too (Image: Northumbria Police)

Two young teenagers who have been splattering graffiti around Tyneside have been caught and are being taught better ways.

The 15-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl were caught after vandalising areas in Roker Park and the Seaburn and Roker seafront in Sunderland.

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Northumbria Police had uncovered an online graffiti group claiming to operate across Sunderland and South Tyneside.

Police tracked down the two teenagers they suspected were responsible for £2,000 worth of damage, recognisable by the same or similar tags.

The youngsters were taken into custody and in an interview, accompanied by their parents, admitted they were behind the graffiti.

Both will now attend youth surgery sessions to educate them about antisocial behaviour and hopefully divert them away from any future criminality.

Graffiti left by the teens (Image: Northumbria Police)

PC Louise Reed, of Northumbria Police, said: “This spate of offending caused significant upset within the community, not to mention it was an eyesore for residents and visitors alike.

“Intentional acts of criminal damage are totally unacceptable, and upon learning of this spate of incidents, we were determined to identify those responsible.

“Our enquiries led us to an online graffiti group, of which the majority of its members were children and young adults. Quite quickly, we were then able to narrow down our search and identify those responsible.

“Those two young teenagers, after being sat down with their parents, have duly accepted what they did was wrong and understand the serious impact that their irresponsible actions have had.

“Where possible and appropriate, we want to reduce the criminalisation of young people in our communities.

"That’s why both teenagers will now take part in educational and intervention work to take responsibility for their behaviour while also being diverted away from further criminality.

“We would like to thank the local authority and all our partners for their support and will continue to do all we can to tackle anti-social behaviour, ensuring this area remains a safe place to live and work.”

Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness added: “It’s great to see those behind graffiti being tackled like this.

"Graffiti brings down neighbourhoods and often costs councils and businesses money to remove it.

“I hope this proactive policing will be a warning to others that anti-social behaviour like this will not be tolerated. ”