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A YOUNG man with an interest in art has pleaded guilty to 46 criminal damage charges after a graffiti spree across Warrnambool.
Brayden Williams, 20, of Botanic Road, Warrnambool, appeared in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court and was ordered to pay $3608 compensation.
He was not convicted, placed on a 12-month community corrections order with conditions he do 120 hours of community work as well as assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and programs as requested.
Magistrate Cynthia Toose said graffiti was the same as breaking windows.
"People are proud of Warrnambool. It's a beautiful city. You've imposed your graffiti on everyone else," she said.
Williams said he committed the offences without thinking, but he now regretted it and wished the offending hadn't happened.
Ms Toose said she wasn't sure why anyone would be involved in graffiti, which just cost the rest of the community money to clean up.
She said that money could be far better used for sporting facilities or the rpovision of other public services and facilities.
"This sort of offending needs to be publicised. One day someone will be jailed for this. Let this be a very big learning curve for you," she said.
Police executed a search warrant at a Botanic Road home in Warrnambool and found material linked to graffiti tags.
The tags covered power boxes, walls, fences, doors, bus shelters, signs, drains, mail boxes and a bridge across Warrnambool and Dennington.
The total damage bill is estimated at being more than $5000 as other tags were not reported to police but have been seen around the city.
Since Williams' arrest there have been no new similar tags.
Defence counsel Belinda Northey said Williams' partner had an interest in art that led to his involvement.
She described his offending as being a flurry of activity over a confined period.
"He thought it was a victimless crime, targeting businesses and council property," she said, explaining that Williams now knew better.
Ms Northey said Williams wanted to pursue his interest in art.