THE case against a professor charged with causing almost £18,000 of damage to luxury cars which had polite graffiti scratched on them was adjourned today (Friday, January 11).

Stephen Graham did not appear at Newcastle Crown Court to enter pleas to four charges of criminal damage.

Graham, 47, from Lansdowne Gardens, Jesmond, is a specialist in cities and urban life at Newcastle University.

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The specimen charges relate to damage allegedly caused to 24 cars parked in nearby streets.

The graffiti reportedly included the words ''very silly'', ''really wrong'' and ''arbitrary'' and were thought to have been etched into the paintwork with a screwdriver.

A district judge at an earlier hearing before the city's Magistrates' Court ruled that as the value of the damage stood at £17,874.02, the case must be dealt with at Crown Court.

Today's hearing was adjourned for a week and will be held on January 18.