TWO graffiti artists who carried out attacks on railway carriages in Bury have been jailed.

Thomas Dolan (20) and 18-year-old Thomas Whittaker caused £16,000 worth of damage across Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Derbyshire when they went on a graffiti spree lasting nearly two years.

The pair left their "tags" - or signatures - on trains, railway property, and public and private buildings between May, 2005, and February, 2007.

A rail carriage at the ELR's Buckley Wells depot in Bury fell victim to the graffiti artists.

On Tuesday, Dolan, of Leek Road, and Whittaker from Brocklehurst Avenue, both Macclesfield, were given custodial sentences when they appeared before Manchester Crown Court.

Dolan, who used the tag KREK', was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to seven criminal damage charges. Whittaker used the tag MERS' and received 12 months in prison after pleading to six similar offences. They asked for a total of 20 other offences to be taken into consideration.

Detective Inspector John Price of British Transport Police said. "This sentencing is the culmination of a long and detailed investigation conducted by BTP's dedicated graffiti team.

"Some people consider graffiti to be art but in reality it is nothing more than vandalism that makes people fearful of their surroundings and costs the railway industry thousands of pounds to clean up. The costs associated with cleaning the stations and trains means it is ultimately the fare-paying passenger who has to pay for this damage.

"This case is one of a number of recent examples of prolific graffiti offenders being brought to justice. I hope this sends a clear message that BTP has the determination and expertise to crack down on this vandalism."