IT was the graffiti tag that caused more than £20,000 of damage across Oxford and sparked numerous police appeals.

But Charlie Silver, the only man charged with daubing the tag ‘Soak’ across buildings in the city, walked out of court yesterday with a £100 fine after the majority of charges were dropped.

Silver, 20, admitted one count causing criminal damage to a shop’s shutters, while three more serious criminal damage charges were discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Privately, police are believed to be angry and frustrated.

City councillor John Tanner, board member for a cleaner, greener Oxford, congratulated police for catching Silver.

But he added: “The city council will be taking legal advice.

“Let’s hope that Mr Silver and people like him stop damaging public property with their ugly graffiti.”

Silver, of Upper Fisher Row in central Oxford, admitted spraying ‘Soak’ and ‘BWS’ on the shutters of a convenience store in Cowley Road, East Oxford, in July 2010.

However, charges relating to £4,321 of damage caused to Oxford Ice Rink, £1,800 of damage to The Park Sports Centre in Wheatley and £15,000 of damage to “walls and street furniture” throughout Oxford were dropped.

A CPS spokesman said: “On reviewing the case we found insufficient evidence was available to us to get a realistic prospect of conviction.”

The CPS was unable to confirm or deny whether Silver was considered the originator of Soak or a copycat offender.

Police said they would look into the possibility of getting the CPS to reinstitute the case.

However, if the CPS dropped the case over evidential reasons, officers would need to find new evidence.

A spokesman said: “Thames Valley Police will work with its partners at the CPS to review the evidence in this case and see if an appeal can be made regarding these other charges.”

Prosecutor Sophie Chaplin told Oxford magistrates Silver was one of three men seen on CCTV at 1.30am on July 19, 2010, spraying the shutters of a Cowley Road shop.

She added that there were “a number of matters known about Mr Silver” but stated he had not been in trouble since receiving an 18-month community rehabilitation order in 2008.

Kate McNab, defending, said her client, who is “staying with friends or with his grandmother”, had recently obtained work with a carpenter for £150 a week.

Magistrates Jayne Stenton-Putt, James Macnamara and Pamela Berridge ordered Silver to pay a £100 fine, a £15 victims’ surcharge and £85 costs.

A spokesman for Oxford City Council said: “The Soak tag cost the council approximately £20,000 to clean up. The cost of this will be met by the council and, ultimately, the residents of the city.”