Southville paint vandal 'caught green-handed'
A BARMAID who spray-painted green bunting graffiti on North Street a month before the road was transformed by a street art festival, has been punished by the courts.
Emily Foster was arrested for criminal damage after spraying her design and "tagging" seven buildings, including Tesco Express, Souk Kitchen, Pizza Hut, Ocean estate agents and the Plaza apartments.
Ironically, within a month, hundreds of graffiti artists were given permission to transform parts of North Street and adjoining roads with large-scale street art murals for Upfest 2012.
Foster, 23, of Friezewood Road, Ashton Gate, admitted damaging the Tesco wall on May 3, and asked Bristol magistrates to take a further six offences into consideration.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Prosecuting, Laura Opie said in the early hours, Foster was spotted crouching outside Tesco Express, having stencilled a 20ft long line of bunting in green paint. She put some items in a carrier bag and walked off down Myrtle Street.
When she was approached by police at about 4.20am, she admitted: "I've got caught on my first night".
The officers found the incriminating stencil and two spray cans on her.
Miss Opie added: "She was caught red-handed, but she actually had green hands at the time of the offence."
She said Foster may have been eligible for a caution instead of a prosecution, as she had no previous convictions, but the number of offences meant that could not be considered.
Mitigating, Anita Evans described the bunting graffiti as "unusual and somewhat appealing".
"Miss Foster said she actually wanted to cheer people up, rather than cause damage," she told the court.
The magistrates heard Foster had an illustration degree from the University of the West of England and volunteers her time making sets and props for Circomedia for free.
On the night in question, she finished work and, after a few drinks, thought it would be "fun" to do some street art. She already had the paint in her house for other purposes.
Ms Evans added: "She is very embarrassed and apologetic about what has happened."
Foster was given a one-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay a total of £390 in compensation, plus £85 costs.
The court heard she did not have to pay compensation to Souk Kitchen as its vandalised all was spray-painted with a new mural during Upfest.
Presiding magistrate Peter Crossman said: "As pretty as the bunting is, I don't think the tags are quite so attractive. But you cannot go spraying other people's property on a whim, even if you have had one too many the night before."
He added: "It's been an expensive night out for you."
When approached after the case by The Post, Foster declined to comment.
The merits of street art will be debated on a political level tonight, at the full meeting of Bristol City Council. Conservative councillor has submitted a number of questions to the Liberal Democrat administration, accusing it of becoming fixated by the medium. The Lib Dems believe it boosts tourism and creativity.