A vandal who scrawled on a postbox painted gold in honour of a 15-year-old Paralympic hero has been spared jail. Nathan Geary daubed his tag ‘nopom’ on the postbox which was painted after Josef Craig won the gold in the Men’s S7 400m freestyle at the London Games. Craig, 15, twice broke the world record during the Paralympic Games to win gold in the 400 metres S7 freestyle. He swam four minutes 42.81 seconds to beat the mark of 4mins 45.79 secs he set in the morning’s heat, winning by 3.41 seconds from China’s Pan Shiyun.
But the postbox to honour his remarkable achievements was ruined by Geary, who continued on a rampage of vandalism.
The 21-year-old also vandalised other areas in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, including the nearby Tunnel Club, cars and houses during his graffiti spree on September 12.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal damage at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court earlier this week and asked for a further six to be taken into account.
He was also ordered to pay £1,000 compensation.
Chairman of the bench Russell Hewitson, told him: ‘We were thinking of whether you should get a custodial sentence, but after careful consideration we decided against it.
‘Criminal damage in the community cannot be tolerated any time but this involved the post box as well.
‘You showed a complete lack of respect for someone from this area who carried out a great achievement.’
The 21-year-old caused more than £1,100 of damage in the spree, which happened just days after the postbox was painted for the swimmer, Team GB’s youngest gold medallist, of Primrose, Jarrow.
Claire Wright, prosecuting, said: “He was caught on CCTV outside Wilkinson Court and outside the Viking Precinct.
‘He was with a small black dog and had a fishing rod. ‘It showed him writing on the postbox, doors, cars, and his own building before going inside.’
Mrs Wright said that when police went to the building to find the culprit, Geary was the only one with a dog that matched the one seen on CCTV.
The court heard that Geary, who has a two-year-old daughter, has no previous convictions for criminal damage.
Rachel Comb, defending, said: ‘He appreciates how stupid and mindless these acts are.
‘It is something he will have to live with for an extremely long time, and he is deeply sorry.’
Speaking after the caused, Geary said that he feels terrible for what he has done and is going to write a letter to Josef to apologise.