A MAN has vowed to channel his grief in a less destructive way after being fined for a graffiti spree around the city.

Paul Harris was hauled up in front of court after spray painting a design across Brighton following the death of his son.

The 50-year-old said he wanted to raise awareness of youth mental health after 25-year-old Preston Harris killed himself.

Magistrates ordered to pay £1,200 and told him to channel his message in better ways, which Harris has vowed to continue to do.

After his court appearance, Harris told The Argus: "I knew I'd done wrong spray painting where I did, I knew I had to be punished for it.

"I did tell the magistrates my reasoning as to why I had done it, to get other youth to speak and raise awareness of youth mental health."

Harris told The Argus how he had spray painted the image of a man curled up with his head in his hands following his son's death in August last year.

The same distinctive image was found spray-painted on trees and buildings around the Royal Pavilion, Mash Tun, the Colonnade Bar, New Road and Robert Street, causing damage in excess of £3,000.

After the first image was discovered on the wall of Brighton Unitarian Church in New Road on June 2, a swift investigation soon identified a suspect.

On Tuesday, June 15, Harris was arrested at on suspicion of causing criminal damage.

Detectives linked Harris to 21 separate instances of graffiti in Brighton city centre over a three-week period in June.

Harris, of Robert Street, Brighton, was been convicted of 16 counts of causing criminal damage.

Last week, he was sentenced to a 12 month community order involving 120 hours of unpaid work.

Magistrates in Brighton ordered him to pay £1,200 in compensation and costs.

Since his arrest he has been spraying the stencil onto canvases and other items to sell at car boot sales.

He says he will continue to paint the canvases and spread his message in a legal manner.

Have you got a story for us? Email news@theargus.co.uk or contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox.

You can also call us on 01273 021 400.