Professor in court over graffiti

A professor will appear before a judge after he was charged with causing almost £18,000-worth of damage to luxury cars which had polite graffiti scratched on them.

Stephen Graham, who works at Newcastle University, will appear at Newcastle Crown Court to enter pleas to four charges of criminal damage.

The 47-year-old, from Lansdowne Gardens, Jesmond, is a specialist in cities and urban life.

The specimen charges relate to damage allegedly caused to 24 cars parked in nearby streets.

The graffiti reportedly included the words "very silly", "really wrong" and "arbitrary" and were thought to have been etched into the paintwork with a screwdriver.

A district judge at a previous hearing before the city's magistrates' court ruled that as the value of the damage stood at £17,874.02, the case must be dealt with at Crown Court.

He was granted unconditional bail at previous hearings and continues to lecture.

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