FURIOUS Stone residents called the decision to release without charge two vandals arrested for daubing graffiti tags on shop fronts and buildings in the town centre “disgusting” and a “disgrace”.
Angry residents who rallied together to clean up the mess left after vandals hit he town repeatedly, leaving their mark on windows, walls, benches and a railway bridge, took to twitter to express their disappointment.
Neil Harvey-Smith, a father of two, who helped in the clean-up operation, said: “Our town was disfigured.
“Dozens of us scrubbed their paint off the walls, the decision hurts.”
However, Staffordshire Police said the decision was not taken lightly, and said the boys aged 15 and 16, would be referred to the youth offending team for what a police spokesman called “a community resolution”.
Chief Inspector Paul Trevor, Stafford Borough Local Policing Team Commander, said: “After a detailed investigation it has been determined the best course of action to address such behaviour is for those involved to work alongside our partners in the Youth Offending Team. “
He said that would include unpaid ‘clean-up’ work in the community, contact with victims and the possibility of compensation to be paid by the boy’s parents who he said were “keen to make reparation for what happened.”
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly and it has been based on the individual circumstances of this case and the evidence put to us,” he said.
He said in cases of this nature a criminal prosecution was not always the best route and that by using restorative justice steps can be taken to address behavioural issues and hopefully prevent offending from escalating.
He added: “All of the victims have been updated with the actions being taken and have been fully supportive.”