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Cheeky tagger let off with a warning and a $500 payment to charity

A man who nabbed a marker pen and used it to scrawl FTP (f*** the police) on a patrol car has escaped conviction with a judge’s polite warning.

Sebastion Reginald Lang, who after a night sobering up in a police cell wrote FTP on a police car in January this year, was equally grateful to Judge Jo Rielly – also a former police officer, and the courts for helping him.

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to improve myself. The courts have been very helpful as well,” the 31-year-old told the Nelson District Court today via audiovisual link during his work break.

Lang, a digger operator and road construction worker now works as a driller operator in Waikato mines.

He earlier admitted a charge of wilful damage when appearing in court on January 27 this year. Lang had been held overnight in police cells on an excess breath-alcohol matter, and during his release early the next morning, he reached under a perspex divider and took a police marker pen, which he then hid in his pocket.

When walking away, just after 5am, he strolled down the side of the police station and wrote “KV” on the wall.

At the front of the station, he wrote “FTP KV” on a police sign, then scrawled “FTP KV” on the boot of a police car.

The KV related to where he was from, Lang told Judge Rielly in January, while FTP stood for “f… the police”.

He explained then it was a “bit of drunken fun”, and that he was “angry at the police”, who the court heard had managed to remove the markings with a “bit of elbow grease”.

“It was just a joke and I’m a cheeky person when drunk,” Lang said.

Judge Rielly noted Lang’s previous appearances, including previous hostilities to the police.

“When you’ve been drinking your attitude to the police is less than desirable but you are hard-working and you regret what you did,” she said.

Judge Rielly told Lang that if he donated $500 to an addiction charity of his choice and wrote a letter of apology to the police, he would receive a discharge without conviction at his sentencing.

The court heard today that Lang had done this, and therefore escaped a court penalty, although Judge Rielly noted a reasonable list of outstanding fines on other matters, which he was yet to pay.

“I am pleased to hear you have taken it upon yourself to get counselling.

“What you did was wrong and stupid but you acknowledged that from the outset, and you have been trying very hard to turn around your life.”

On hearing Judge Rielly’s outcome, Lang signed off from the video call with a wave and a message to the court: “thanks guys”.

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