I don’t think your target was worth it this time guys.
Graffiti vandals who spray-painted an historic railway carriage at Richmond Vale Railway Museum â€“ causing damage estimated at $1800 â€“ may be sorry they left their calling card.
A tag on one of the 52-year-old carriages left shortly after Christmas has been traced to that of a known graffiti gang based in west Newcastle â€“ the group that struck at the same spot two years ago who were caught and convicted.
Museum director Ray Hennessy said the graffiti tag had been traced and identified by State Rail officials and details were given to the NSW Police Graffiti Unit at Newcastle.
“It’s great news. We are confident these vandals will soon be caught,” Mr Hennessy told the Maitland Mercury yesterday.
But the spirits of heartbroken volunteers were further on the mend when Mr Hennessy also revealed his latest plan to deal with vandals.
“We estimate that the cost of removing spray paint in vandalism such as this would be about $1800, mostly for expensive cleaning materials,” he said.
“But this latest incident has also provided us with an opportunity to test a project we have had in mind for some time.”
“We will use this painted carriage to try out a new scheme – painting straight over the graffiti.”
Mr Hennessy said he would paint the silver carriage in the same brown and yellow colours of the old-style wooden carriages.
“I have been wondering what would happen if we painted these colours straight onto a spray-painted carriage without first removing the graffiti,” he said.
“Now we have the very opportunity to try out this scheme.”
“If it works and the graffiti is obliterated in the new colours, it could mean a whole new approach to repairing such damage.”
“To restore this particular carriage by painting over the graffiti would probably cost us $500 – instead of the $1800 it would have cost.”
Mr Hennessy revealed another trick to obliterate graffiti vandals’ tags as soon as possible after they had struck.
“Past experience has shown that vandals become very deterred if they can’t show pictures of their work to their mates,” he said.
“We know this, because we cleaned the paint off one carriage as soon as it was discovered.”
“The vandals were pretty annoyed – and they never came back.”
In the latest incident, Mr Hennessy said the vandals had cut a hole through a fence, sighted a security camera and run out again – cutting another hole in the fence further down.
“They came up under another security camera there,” he said.
“But they pulled a pipe from the ground and pushed one camera out of position, so it was pointing at the sky.”
“Then they carried out their dirty work on the other side of the carriages.”
“They must have been there for quite a while too.”
Mr Hennessy said security at the museum site would be further upgraded, with two more security cameras being installed.