Teenager convicted for Barnstaple race hate graffiti

AN 18-year-old man has been found guilty of racially aggravated criminal damage by Barnstaple magistrates today (Thursday). The court heard how Alex Symons sprayed a large number of swastikas and racially abusive words at various sites around Barnstaple o

AN 18-year-old man has been found guilty of racially aggravated criminal damage by Barnstaple magistrates today (Thursday).

The court heard how Alex Symons sprayed a large number of swastikas and racially abusive words at various sites around Barnstaple on Thursday, February 11 this year.

Symons was charged with three offences, and had a further three taken into consideration all of which he was convicted of and given a six month custodial sentence, suspended for two years.

In addition he was ordered to carry out 300 hours of community service, and pay compensation to the victims, which include private dwellings, council-owned property and commercial premises.


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Police in Barnstaple have welcomed the conviction.

Following Symons' conviction, police sergeant James Tarr, neighbourhood team leader for the Barnstaple area, said: "Throughout this investigation and progress to court, we have been focused on supporting those affected by these extremely hurtful images and words.

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"We will robustly investigate any report of hate crime within our area, and are committed to ensuring that all members of the community feel safe and supported by their local police officers.

"We have received numerous contacts by individuals who have been insulted and hurt by these incidents, and I would urge anyone who has been affected to contact my team to discuss how we can advise or assist.

"North Devon Police are also served by our force diversity officer Julie Dixon who has greatly assisted us by providing comprehensive support and practical assistance to the victims of this damage."

Sgt Tarr said that incidents of this type are rare in the North Devon area, and police were grateful to North Devon Council for their help in arranging the cleaning of the offensive graffiti.

He added: "We are pleased that the court indicated this man will be engaged in cleaning graffiti from the streets of Barnstaple as part of his community service order.

"I sincerely hope that serves not only to rehabilitate this individual, but to act as a deterrent to anyone causing damage of any kind within the Barnstaple area."

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