A VANDAL who smeared racist graffiti and messages supporting a right-wing group on the wall of a healthcare service was handed a community sentence.

Kevin Michael Phipps, 27, of Tabernacle Court, Ebbw Vale, daubed anti-Black Lives Matters scrawl at ND Care and Support in Abertillery.

Newport Magistrates’ Court heard he had downed four cans of beer and half a bottle of vodka before he wrote: "Free Tommy, f*** BLM. EDL."

"Free Tommy" is believed to be a reference to the founder of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – who was jailed for contempt of court last year.


He was released in September 2019.

The court was told Phipps also drew what was believed to be a swastika on the wall of the building in in Somerset Street on June 15.

The defendant pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated criminal damage.

The court heard staff at ND Care and Support discovered the vandalism when they turned up for work at 9am on Tuesday, June 16.

After obtaining a CCTV recording of the incident, which happened at around 7pm, they forwarded it to the police.

At an earlier hearing, Frank Whittle, representing Phipps, told the court the defendant “doesn’t understand racism and feels everyone should be treated equally”.

His lawyer added: “He says he doesn’t harbour racist views and he feels like an idiot.”

Phipps was sentenced to a 12-month community order and ordered to complete a six-month alcohol treatment requirement.

He was fined £120 and must also pay £85 costs and a £95 surcharge.

Outside the court, Blaenau Gwent Inspector Shane Underwood said: “Understandably, the offence committed by Phipps in June was distressing and offensive to the community of Abertillery.

“There is no place for hate crime in Gwent, and we will continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to this type of offending.

“We are committed to ensuring our communities are welcoming and safe places for everyone, and any crime motivated by racial, sexual, or any other prejudice, will be investigated thoroughly and offenders will be put before the courts.”