A PROLIFIC graffiti tagger has been slapped with a £2,000 fine.

Marcus Carvell, 47, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of criminal damage after appearing at Brighton Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.

The court heard that Carvell, of Steine Street, Brighton, initially sprayed graffiti on The Brighton Bed Centre in Portland Road, Hove, before going on to daub properties with his graffiti tag in Portland Road and the Poets corner area of the city causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage.

Investigating officer PC Andy Newman said Carvell was identified as a suspect as he used his own personalised tag on numerous front walls and shops fronts in September last year.

Divisional commander Chief Superintendent Nick May said: “We are determined to bring to justice anyone who commits offences of criminal damage in the city.

“The graffiti and tagging does have victims as their property is damaged and de-faced.

“The presence of such graffiti also makes the area feel uncared for and unsafe for our communities.

“We are determined to work with the city council and other partners to improve this situation and take tough action to prevent offences and when we have the evidence to take matters to court.”

Magistrates ordered Carvell to pay his victims a total of £1,940 in compensation and £85 court costs.

Last year, Brighton and Hove City Council announced a “war on graffiti” to tackle the “scourge” of the city.

It promised to support the police with evidence to increase the amounts of fines or length of jail sentence once an offender has been identified.

Councils can issue fixed penalty notices for graffiti to the value of £75.

However charges under the Criminal Damage Act carry much harsher punishments.

If the value of criminal damage exceeds £5,000, the maximum penalty for those aged 18 or over is ten years’ imprisonment.

Where the damage is less than £5,000, the maximum sentence is three months’ imprisonment or a fine of £2,500.

The spokesman added: “We support the police as much as possible in their efforts to catch taggers.This includes providing the police with reports of previous similar tags to ensure the appropriate action takes place, as the more damage the tagger has caused, the more the fine or longer the jail sentence, depending on the judge’s ruling.”