A VANDAL who defaced a war memorial honouring the heroes of the Great War just yards away from a police station was brought to justice by an off-duty police officer.
Yob Michal Qierepka, 29, originally from Poland, used a black crayon to scrawl the expression ‘reDH’, which is linked to an internet graffiti craze, on the structure.
In court Qierepka claimed he did not know about the word he wrote on the memorial in Wakefield.
He was spotted by Supt Tyron Joyce, 43, who was driving home when he sprang into action and pulled his car over to confront him. The deputy divisional commander of Wakefield identified himself as a police officer and asked brazen Qierepka “what the hell do you think you are doing”.
The senior officer said: “I just thought ‘you are taking the mickey’.
“When you look, you are yards away from the main police headquarters.”
Qierepka started to walk away but Supt Joyce arrested him and escorted him to the nearby police station.
Supt Joyce initially had no idea what ‘reDH’ meant but has since learned, he said.
“It’s some sort of world-wide fad where that word has been used on a number of public buildings.”
“There is no suggestion that he is involved in some international crime. He was just reckless and thoughtless.”
Qierepka appeared before Wakefield Magistrates Court and admitted criminal damage. The court heard that reDH was part of an ongoing graffiti campaign which is well documented online.
Magistrate Sally Champ told Qierepka:”This was a disgraceful act and your actions will have caused both offence and distress to so many people in Wakefield and beyond, because of course this monument is to remember those that have died.”
Probation officer Gill Redman, who interviewed Qierepka to assess him for a community-based penalty, said: “We have not discussed the offence. He cannot tell me why it’s happened. He says he doesn’t know.”
The defendant also told her he had not committed any graffiti offences back in his home country where he was a production worker. He moved here three months ago and initially had a job.
Qierepka was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid community work and must pay a £60 victim surcharge.