A 13-YEAR-OLD boy has appeared in court and denied 19 counts of causing criminal damage by scrawling graffiti.

But he has admitted one tag at his home address in Gorse Hill.

The string of charges covers about £4,500 of damage, with two individual incidents causing a total of £3,500 alone.

The sole damage he admits to took place at some point during April this year, and involves damage to a side wall at his Beatrice Street address, where he lives with his mother.

Police raided the tiny tagger's home in early April, seizing spray cans, pictures of tags and other evidence from his bedroom.

He cannot be identified for legal reasons.

They struck in the belief that the youngster was responsible for the tags LV, SCOPE and FELT - with LV having been identified as one of the six most prolific scrawls in Swindon.

At Swindon Youth Court, Andrew Hobson, defending, asked that the youngster be permitted not to attend his next scheduled hearing, on October 10, because of the potential disruption to his schooling.

The not guilty pleas to the other 19 counts were not accepted by the prosecution.

They did, however, agree to drop one count of the teenager failing to surrender.

The chairman of the bench, Ken Price, told the youth: "Both sides are going to prepare notes and get ready for a trial to decide what is right in this case.

"There will be a court hearing on October 12 where both sides will make sure they have all the information they need so that when the trial comes along, they can move on quite easily."

At the time of the boy being charged in August, it was reported in the Advertiser that the garages of residents living nearby had been vandalised with the spray paint scribbles.

Road signs, electricity boxes and a hairdresser's salon were also covered with graffiti In line with the Advertiser's Grass Up Graffiti campaign, Swindon Council is still offering £100 rewards for the names of a number of the most prolific taggers.

Anyone who has any information about who is responsible for graffiti in the town is asked to call the Advertiser's dedicated hotline on 01793 501880.