Giving back for past misdeeds

REMORSEFUL: Tamworth man Nathan Bradburn, who is before the courts on serious graffiti charges, paints over one of his tags in Kamilaroi Park. Photo: Daniel Johns110614DJA01

REMORSEFUL: Tamworth man Nathan Bradburn, who is before the courts on serious graffiti charges, paints over one of his tags in Kamilaroi Park. Photo: Daniel Johns110614DJA01

IF YOU live in Tamworth, there is every chance you have seen some of Nathan Bradburn’s andiwork plastered around town.

Since the age of 16, Mr Bradburn has frequently defaced businesses, signs and other surfaces with mindless graffiti.

But since being nabbed by police in April and having to face the very real prospect of jail, he has set out to atone for his crimes.

The 20-year-old is enrolled in a volunteer program that sees him remove graffiti from public places under the supervision of council staff.

The Leader spoke to Mr Bradburn yesterday after he spent two hours cleaning up one of his own tags in Kamilaroi Park in South Tamworth.

He said the experience, through what is called the CREDIT program, had made him realise just how “extremely stupid” his actions had been.

“I can’t take back what I did, but I can give back for what I did,” he said. “It has really opened my eyes to it. It’s costly to the council, it’s a waste of the council workers’ time.

“It’s a very immature, silly thing to be doing. It doesn’t in any way fulfil you. It doesn’t make you feel like a bigger person. It’s stupidity and it’s just not worth it.”

Any misconceptions about just how dimly the courts view graffiti offences were dispelled when Mr Bradburn was initially refused bail and remanded in custody for two weeks.

“It’s not a laughing matter,” he said. “When you’re with a group of mates you write something silly and then laugh about it, but I look back now and say “Geez, why’d I do it?”

Tamworth Regional Council is one of just two councils in the state participating in the CREDIT program, which, if offenders complete successfully, can result in reduced sentences.

Deputy mayor Russell Webb said that with graffiti costing the community tens of thousands a year, any initiative to help reduce incidents was a positive step.

“Graffiti is a burden on the council and it certainly has a very negative impact because that’s money that could be spent on things more beneficial to the community,” he said.

Mr Bradburn is due to return to Tamworth Local Court in the coming weeks for sentencing.

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