Teen tagger handed cleanup bill

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 12:40 30/07/2013

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A teenage tagger has been shocked by the $1500 cleanup bill he faces after spray-painting 3 metres of fence in Upper Riccarton, Christchurch.

Police and the judge have suggested he could get his tagging mates to help pay since he was the only one caught and he is facing the whole bill.

Concrete placer Reece Dean McMillan Middleton, 18, says he has only $100 a week left after paying his rent.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of wilful damage before Judge Stephen O'Driscoll in the Christchurch District Court today.

Police prosecutor Stephen Burdes said Middleton had spray-painted red and yellow graffiti over a fence in Hare St, and it had to be water-blasted to get it off. The cleaning cost was $1500.

Middleton told police he had done the painting because other people were also doing it.

Defence counsel April Kelland said Middleton had been "egged on" by the friends who were with him.

"He realises now how silly this was. He has said he really should be getting beyond this kind of behaviour."

She said the amount for cleaning the fence seemed a bit high. The cost appeared to be for the whole fence rather than for the section that Middleton tagged.

She said Middleton was doing a community work sentence and had unpaid fines of $3500, which he was paying off at $20 a week.

Burdes said: "If the defendant wishes to share the cost of the reparation, he can simply name those individuals [who were with him] to the police."

Judge O'Driscoll said that even if Middleton did not name the other offenders, if he got the cleanup cost from them and took it to court, it would be taken into account in his sentence.

The judge remanded the case to August 6 for the police to get more details on the cleanup bill.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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