doc

TWO teenagers who blighted a Stourbridge subway with graffiti have been putting their artistic desires to good use by painting a car park as part of their punishment.

The 15-year-olds, who were identified by officers from the local policing team as responsible for ‘tags’ which appeared throughout June, rolled up their sleeves and joined Dudley Council’s street cleansing team on Saturday July 19 to give the Ryemarket car park a lick of paint.

PC Ryan Gardener, who organised the approach − known as restorative justice, said: "After a day of hard graft the lads seemed to have a greater appreciation of the impact that their mindless vandalism was having, not just to those who have to clean up the damage, but for people visiting the area.

"Neither of them could give any reason for the motivation behind their behaviour. But both promised the punishment had been an eye-opener and they wouldn’t be reoffending.

"Stourbridge is a picturesque area that we are rightly proud of, and we want to keep it this way.

"Graffiti gives the impression that an area is unsafe, something we’re clearly keen to dispel.”

He said the lads, who both admitted their guilt, were identified following an investigation after a member of the public sent a photo to police.

The parents of the duo endorsed the restorative justice style punishment which is being used more frequently by police to make criminals pay for their crimes in a way that benefits both the victim and the community.