Britain’s most prolific graffiti artist, known as 10 Foot, is today revealed as the middle-class son of a respected NHS doctor who enjoyed an idyllic childhood in the countryside.
Sam Moore is unmasked by MailOnline as the writer behind the hundreds of 10 Foot tags spray painted on bridges, walls and buildings in London – and causing an estimated £1million worth of damage across the UK.
10 Foot recently boasted that his vandalism had gone global with his graffiti tags all over the world as he had been approached by fashion brands, music labels and TV showrunners with offers to collaborate and earn a fortune in sponsorship deals.
Reeling off the places around the globe where his 10 Foot tag can be seen, Moore says they are in Paris, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Oslo and Copenhagen to name just a few.
Using an anarchist’s book shop in Kennington, south-east London, as a drop-off point for friends to contact him, Moore has been keen to play up his street credentials.
MailOnline has revealed the identity of the prolific graffiti artist ’10 Foot’ as Sam Moore, from the Isle of Wight, who is believed to be pictured here painting his tag in Buenos Aires, Argentina
In London you will see 10 Foot’s tags like this scrawled across walls, bridges and buildings
A notorious graffiti artist, Moore has always kept his identity secret. This is the only photo that exists of him – from when he was jailed ten years ago after being caught spraying Hungerford Bridge with his ’10 Foot’ tag. He was jailed for causing £113,000 worth of damage
However, speak to Moore’s friends and family in the genteel surroundings of Sandown on the Isle of Wight, in Hampshire, and they paint a rather different picture.
One of two siblings, Moore’s childhood was the very definition of middle-class respectability as he and his brother grew up in a beautiful, detached house worth £750,000 on a farm with their mother Judith Moore and stepfather David McMullen, both retired family doctors.
Neighbours recall Moore as a ‘chatty, pleasant’ child who attended the nearby Sandown High School.
‘Most people knew his mother Judith as she was also their GP,’ remembers a family friend. ‘She was a pillar of the community and well known on the island, so people would look up to her.
10 Foot’s father Michael Wilks (pictured) lives on the Isle of Wight and says he has no opinion of Moore’s ‘art’
‘This is a small place with a sense of community, and you get to know everyone. The boys were not really in any trouble round here, although I know from Judith that Sam did go off the rails later when he moved to London got into serious trouble.’
Judith and Moore’s father David Wilks, a radiographer, were never married and separated in the early 90s when their son was six or seven and his younger was still a toddler.
Judith would later move in with David and his son and two daughters.
Although Moore, 36, has an Instagram fan page dedicated to his work with photos of over 400 locations tagged by 10 Foot and he has given anonymous interviews before, this is the first time his identity has been confirmed.
His father Michael admitted that his son is 10 Foot – but refused to be drawn on his ‘art’.
‘I have no big opinion on what he does,’ Mr Wilks told MailOnline, adding, ‘He does what he does.’
Neighbours said that there was no indication of the trouble that would follow for Moore.
His graffiti began when he left the Isle of Wight for London aged 20.
One friend said he ‘fell in with the wrong crowd’ and hung out with other graffers known as the Diabolical Dubstars, or DDS – and artists with the tags Tox, Save and CK.
Despite cultivating a ‘street’ profile by jetting around the word to spray his 10 Foot tag and getting a series of sponsorship offers, Moore actually hails from the more genteel surrounds on the Isle of White. This is the detached farmhouse where him and his brother grew up
Moore and his younger brother were raised by their mother and stepfather, who are both doctors at the family home set in the sprawling countryside in Adgestone on the Isle of Wight
Moore’s family home in Sandown which is worth £750,000 and where chickens and a few sheep are kept is close to the beach and is popular with holidaymakers in the summer
Trouble really arrived in 2010 when he was caught red-handed spraying Hungerford Bridge with his ’10 Foot’ tag.
Prison followed ending a three-year spree of what police described as ‘wanton destruction’ that caused £113,000 worth of damage.
Family friends say Judith, 62, was left heartbroken after her eldest was given a two-year jail term after admitting 25 counts of criminal damage.
An anti-graffiti unit at British Transport Police had used handwriting analysis to prove he was responsible for tags at Newington Causeway railway bridge and Elephant and Castle shopping centre.
But undeterred, Moore even carried on offending while on police bail daubing tube trains at Ealing Broadway station.
As well as the jail term he was also subject to an anti-social order for five years that banned him from being in possession of paint or a pen.
While Moore’s identity is known by others who vandalise buildings with spray paint, he has kept a low profile to avoid being arrested and face further prison time.
Moore uses ‘burner phones’ to keep in contact with fellow’ graffers’ – the name given to those who spend their lives tagging buildings and bridges.
The only known photograph of Moore is from 10 years ago when he was jailed.
In his recent interview for the Financial Times magazine, he was keen to play up his ‘rock star’ image as he was pictured holding a spray can with half his face hidden behind a mask.
10 Foot has risen to prominence in the UK with his tags. His graffiti is here at London Bridge
Moore recently boasted that his 10 Foot tag can be seen all over the world and as far afield as Mexico City, Bogota, Kuwait and Havana in Cuba. It features here on a building in Amsterdam
10 Foot’s tag has also been seen here on a police car in Bueno Aires, although there are a number of copycat taggers so it can be unclear if it is Moore’s work
In the piece, not only did Moore admit still defacing railway bridges and buildings, but he also boasted he never pays for spray paint, preferring to steal cans from DIY stores.
His one complaint was that some of the stores such B&Q employ more vigilant security guards, making shoplifting more difficult.
During the interview Moore boasted that 10 Foot tag can be seen all over the world and as far afield as Mexico City, Bogota, Kuwait and Havana in Cuba.
Even islands such as the Outer Hebrides and the Orkneys have been visited by Moore and his cans of silver and black spray paint.
Fans on social media speculate that his tag 10 foot refers to the distance that separates railway tracks.
But Moore says: ‘I’m just called 10 Foot cos I was always really tall.’
It is not known if Moore has a job given that he spends most of his nights out prowling the streets of London.
His income comes from selling prints of his graffiti. A signed cover of the FT article is on sale on e-bay for £250.
He also has some of his prints on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London this month where his work is part of an exhibition of graffiti artists from around the world.
Moore uses this anarchist book shop in Kennington (pictured) as his point of contact
The acceptance of Moore as a mainstream artist has not gone down well with the anti-graffiti unit at British Transport Police.
A spokesman refused to talk about Moore or 10Foot as it could encourage more offending.
They said: ‘British Transport Police works across England, Wales and Scotland to prevent graffiti offences on the railway network.
‘Such offences are highly dangerous, often involving individuals trespassing on restricted areas of the railway and coming into close contact with live tracks and passing trains. This can and has led to serious and fatal harm.
‘We also police these offences to prevent damage to the railway. Graffiti is costly to remove and cleaning it requires carriages to be taken out of service, which ultimately impacts those attempting to travel.
Cornwall has also been targeted by Moore, who says he shoplifts paint from DIY stores
A street sign in Somerset has been tagged by the graffiti artist, who has travelled as far as the Orkney Islands to leave his mark
10 Foot’s tag was spotted on a motorway bridge in Yorkshire, one of many seen across the UK
‘Our specialist teams work closely with our partners in the railway to tackle and prevent these offences, carrying our proactive patrols and using the vast amount of CCTV on the network to identify offenders.’
Moore has not been seen at his parents’ home for several years and residents of Isle of Wight are happy for him to stay in London.
One hotelier said: ‘It would be disastrous if he were to start tagging here. He is not welcome and I don’t think people would appreciate what he does, even if some call it art.