THE MAN behind the ‘Sketch’ graffiti in and around Mold has admitted criminal damage.

Alexander James Gerling, 24, appeared on YouTube as he set about one of his creations on a supermarket wall in town, wearing a mask to disguise himself. But his car was spotted and police were able to trace him.

After his court appearance yesterday, Gerling of Well Street in Treuddyn, said he hoped something positive would come out of his prosecution.

He had been speaking to the police about setting up a community project where graffiti artists could express themselves legally.

Derelict areas or the boards around construction sites could be brightened up, he said, or an empty hall could be filled with canvasses so artists could stage their own exhibitions.

At Flintshire Magistrates’ Court at Mold, Gerling admitted two charges of criminal damage at The Ambrose Lloyd Centre in Mold on September 29 and at Treuddyn Village Hall on October 14. He asked for three other offences at Mold and Treuddyn to be taken into consideration.

The artist was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work with £85 costs and he was ordered to pay £100 compensation to Flintshire County Council for the man-hours needed to remove his creations.

Matthew Ellis, prosecuting, said graffiti by ‘Sketch’ had appeared in King Street, at the Somerfield car park in Mold, at the youth hall in Treuddyn and at a lane, Mynydd Du Road, outside Treuddyn.

The one at Somerfield covered several feet of the wall and over the following couple of weeks others appeared, each time with ‘Sketch’ sprayed on the walls.

Police found some video footage on YouTube, placed there by ‘Sketch Bomber’ which was a film of the culprit spraying at the Somerfield car park. The artist was wearing a mask.

Police saw the damage caused and saw him driving away in a vehicle, which matched the description of the defendant’s car. A search warrant was executed at the defendant’s home and numerous items including spray paints and the face mask were seized.

Gerling admitted being responsible for the graffiti and said a friend had filmed him spraying the wall at Mold.

Brian Cross, defending, said his client was a young man of good character who had co-operated fully with the police.

It was a modest amount of graffiti by a young student who was studying artistic lens media at Glyndwr University in Wrexham. The young man was very interested in art, and had visited the graffiti at Brick Lane in London.

“He accepts this is not the way to go about furthering his artistic career,” said Mr Cross.

But it was hoped that something positive would come out of it all.

Gerling said he had started creating graffiti on the spur of the moment ‘as a way of expressing myself’.

“The main ones I did were just my name, Sketch,” he explained.