Ulez camera vandal admits criminal damage with spray paint in first successful prosecution

14 November 2023, 14:53

Man admits spray painting the ulez camera near to his home in Bromley
Man admits spray painting the ulez camera near to his home in Bromley. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

A carpenter has admitted vandalising a Ulez camera after he was left unable to leave his home without paying £12.50, a court was told.

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Stephen Nunn was caught after police officers found him spray painting a camera near his home in Bromley.

The 60-year-old was described as a “hard-working man who had fallen on financial difficulties” and had never previously been in trouble with police. He faced paying the £12.50 charge on each day that he left his home.

At Bromley Magistrates Court, he pleaded guilty to criminal damage. The court was told that police officers were patrolling in Hayes Lane on October 27 when they came across Nunn shortly after 10pm.

A vandalised Ulez camera
A vandalised Ulez camera. Picture: Alamy

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Althea Moore, prosecuting, said: “He was dressed in what they described as all-black, carrying a long pole with a mechanism on the top, a spraying device, which he has pointed at the Ulez camera, spraying it with white paint.

“He was stopped, searched and spoken to, and due to their concerns a search was conducted at his address, and many other items relating to the campaign against Ulez cameras were discovered at his address."

Nunn’s defence barrister Len Hodkin told the court that the introduction of Ulez had created significant problems for his client.

He was being charged £12.50 each time he left the house to care for his brother, who has bipolar disorder, or go shopping.

Mr Hodkin said Nunn had been a self-employed carpenter for the last 40 years, but that two years ago he had had an operation on his shoulder that meant he couldn’t work.

“He and his wife fell upon hard times as he was the sole breadwinner so he used up his life savings, and had to borrow money to keep the household going.

“Once the charges came in it became apparent he couldn’t afford to pay £12.50 every day so he had to pass the cost onto his customers, which made him less competitive.

“He’s not a young man who can carry his tools on public transport.”

Magistrate Phiroze Neemuchwala JP said he was satisfied that the loading of the spraying device with paint did indicate that Nunn’s actions were premeditated, and that the offence warranted the imposition of a community order.

Nunn was released on unconditional bail ahead of sentence on December 13.

His case is the first successful prosecution by the Met for damaging Ulez cameras.

Another man, Joseph Nicolls, 42, from Sidcup, was previously charged with criminal damage, malicious communications, and handling stolen goods as well as aiding and abetting the destruction or damage of an Ulez camera.

He is set to face a trial in June next year.

Earlier this month, Scotland Yard released statistics saying 987 crimes relating to ULEZ cameras had been recorded between April and October. This includes 220 camera thefts, and 767 cameras being damaged.