Girl, 13, and boy, 15, behind spate of graffiti in Roker Park and Sunderland seafront that caused £2,000 damage

A 15-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl are set to attend a youth intervention programme to help divert them away from future crime after they daubed graffiti across Roker Park.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 12:19 pm

The graffiti, which caused a total of £2,000 in damage, had all contained the same or similar ‘tags’, leading officers to carry out a range of inquires to locate those responsible.

Police uncovered an online graffiti group claiming to operate across Sunderland and South Tyneside, which allowed officers to track down two teenagers who they suspected to be responsible.

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The graffiti was daubed over the children's play area in Roker Park, along with various spots on the Seaburn and Roker seafront.

A 15-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were brought into custody and in an interview accompanied by their parents, they both admitted they were behind the spate of graffiti.

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 these spate of incidents, we were determined to identify those responsible.

The damage caused a total of £2,000.

“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.”

A 15-year-old boy and 13-year-old both admitted responsibility for the vandalism.

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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. ”

Deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, Cllr Claire Rowntree, also welcomed the outcome, commenting: “We know how important the environment is to our residents and that graffiti is something that really upsets them.

Both teenagers will now attend sessions aimed at diverting them away from future criminality.

"I’m pleased to hear that the two young people behind this graffiti have accepted that their actions were wrong.

“Our teams work really hard to keep our award-winning parks and beautiful seafront looking their best all year round and it’s a shame when they get diverted away from that to clean up unsightly graffiti.”

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