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Halesowen cop in graffiti blitz
12:58pm Thursday 26th September 2013 in News
A PASSIONATE neighbourhood policeman was so appalled at learning of the graffiti spree on his Halesowen beat that he cut short a rest day and within two hours of arriving on duty helped arrest a suspect.
Sergeant Martin Hall, who oversees the local police unit covering Halesowen, was walking his dog when he read police tweets about the spate of overnight vandalism in Howley Grange.
Graffiti had been daubed on up to 40 different properties everything from homes and businesses to bus shelters in a series of attacks which victims woke to discover on the morning of Saturday September 21.
Sgt Hall, who has worked with West Midlands Police for almost 30 years, made straight for Halesowen police station to help co-ordinate the response and gather community intelligence after admitting being "incensed" at the mindless damage.
And less than two hours after arriving in work his team arrested an 18-year-old teenager on suspicion of causing criminal damage.
"I read tweets emphasising the extent of the damage and decided I needed to do something about it straight away," said Sgt Hall, who stayed on shift for six hours, unpaid, into Saturday evening.
He added: "I couldn't wait till I was next on duty. I don't live in Halesowen but I take it personally when people commit offences on our beat and that's an attitude echoed by the whole neighbourhood team.
"Vandalism like this is very upsetting for residents and I estimate the person or people responsible may have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and for what?
"We're taking these incidents very seriously, an investigation is under way and culprits need to understand we won't tolerate it. We'll push for the strongest possible punishments for anyone found vandalising my beat.
"I'd also like to thank the council for reacting so swiftly and removing the graffiti."
The 18-year-old suspect has been bailed pending further inquiries on condition that he observes a 7pm-7am curfew, lives at a specified address and is not in possession of marker pens, spray paint or any material that could be used for graffiti.
Earlier this month a 20-year-old man from Colley Gate was arrested and charged with daubing graffiti on a shop front. He s due to appear in court shortly.
Anyone with information about the graffiti attacks can contact Sgt Hall via the 101 number or speak anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555111.
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