Croatia's 'answer to Banksy' caught blue-handed during painting spree

Croatia's 'answer to Banksy' caught blue-handed during painting spree
The Courthouse at Anglesea street Cork.

A man described in court as Croatia’s answer to Banksy climbed a scaffolding in Cork to get into a building and then started painting the rooms blue.

26-year-old Leo Tihic was effectively caught blue-handed at the scene as the young artist was in the throes of his Blue Period. He had been remanded in custody from August 10 until today on the charge of trespassing at the building to cause criminal damage.

A psychiatric report was prepared on the accused at the request of Judge Olann Kelleher and it was confirmed today that the defendant had no psychiatric difficulties.

Tihic pleaded guilty to the trespass charge. His solicitor Joseph Cuddigan said the defendant was studying film-making in Galway for the past two years and had been in Cork for only ten days when he was arrested for this offence at a building on the South Mall in Cork.

“It was a construction site and he climbed a ladder to gain access to it. There was a tin of blue paint inside and a brush and he painted the walls with it.

“Whether he saw himself as Croatia’s answer to Banksy I don’t know,” Mr Cuddigan said but he added that the young man is an artist.

Mr Cuddigan said the young man had been in custody since August 10 and he asked the judge to take that into consideration time served when he was imposing penalty yesterday.

Judge Olann Kelleher said he would take this into consideration. He finalised the matter yesterday by fining Tihic €500.

Sergeant John Kelleher outlined the background to the incident today.

“On August 2 at approximately 8.30pm gardaí received a report of a man climbing scaffolding on the site on 29 South Mall, Cork. They went to the scene but could not gain access to the site and it was secured.

“Contact was made with the keyholder, who was the construction contractor for the building.

“Gardaí could immediately see a man standing there rummaging through his own bag.

“Garda Brendan Ryan could see that there was paint put on the wall and confirmed with the construction manager that this was not there when he secured the building.

“Leo Tihic was arrested for the offence of burglary.

“Gardaí found several more rooms in the building had paint put on them.

“It was discovered that entry had been gained at the top floor through a window secured with plywood which had been knocked in.

“It would appear that Mr Tihic was planning on staying the night in the bedroom and had been of no fixed address in Cork.”

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