Ex-train-tagger Marcus Barnes found himself arrested for ‘encouraging’ crime when he produced a graffiti magazine. Here he tells the story of the three-year nightmare that ensued and examines our contradictory attitudes to the art form
On Monday 12 December 2011 a three-year ordeal, which my barrister later described as an “Orwellian nightmare”, began. I woke up to a text message from my sister: “Marcus your [sic] gonna go mad. The police are here and they’re taking all your magazines and stuff from your room.”
The British Transport Police had been on my trail for a year or so and I was well aware that my past crimes as a graffiti artist might catch up with me – associates of mine had been apprehended, as part of Operation Jurassic, an investigation into the activities of their crews GSD (Goat Squad) and YRP (Yard Raving Posse), who were prolific on trains here in the UK and overseas. My name had come up during their interviews because I’d travelled abroad with some of them to indulge in “graffiti tourism” in countries where attitudes to graffiti are more lax and permissive. What I didn’t realise was that I was to become the first person in the UK to be charged with “encouraging the commission of criminal damage” contrary to section 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 as part of Operation Pandora, an offshoot of Operation Jurassic focused entirely on me, Marcus Anthony Barnes, and my magazine, Keep the Faith.
Source: Guardian Environment