Boys face jail for destruction spree

THREE teenagers ran rampage through a warehouse trashing cars, computers and machinery and causing nearly £30,000 of damage before driving a stolen car into a river, a court heard.

THREE teenagers ran rampage through a warehouse trashing cars, computers and machinery and causing nearly £30,000 of damage before driving a stolen car into a river, a court heard.

The boys, all 17, who recorded the incident on a home video they entitled "The A to Z of Crime", now face prison after each pleading guilty to two charges of burglary, criminal damage and taking a vehicle without consent.

During a court hearing in Bury St Edmunds yesterday, prosecutor Paul Forshaw described the devastation left at the warehouse on Pound Lane in Hadleigh as the worst he had seen within 30 years in the legal profession.

The youths, who cannot be named for legal reasons but all live in the Hadleigh area, initially broke into the warehouse on June 12 this year, stealing various items including china, torches, masks and a model Buddha.

The returned the following night, forced a panel, and played drinking games in the warehouse, eventually stripping naked after consuming massive amounts of whiskey.

The three then broke into a Citroen car parked in the warehouse, driving it through a wall and reversing it into other vehicles left at the site, writing three off completely.

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Computers, machinery and lawnmowers were also destroyed by the youths, resulting in estimated damage of £28,500.

The trio then filled the smashed-up Citroen with stolen goods, drove it from the site and eventually crashed it into a nearby river.

"I have to say that in 30 years in the legal profession, this is the worst case of wanton criminal damage I have come across," said Mr Forshaw, for the CPS. "What the explanation is for this I do not know.

"Comments were made on the video that this was the 'A to Z of Crime', and the youths later said 'we have had so much fun, it feels so good. The next one must be robbing a bank.'

"Unfortunately, the victims of this offence were not insured, and have been totally devastated by what has happened."

Roger Stewart, for two of the defendants, said the incident had been fuelled by drink as the youths celebrated the end of school exams.

"This was a moment of madness which had very severe consequences," he said. "My clients are very remorseful, and are devastated in their own minds about their conduct on that night. What we are looking at here is the result of over exuberance.

"These are three perfectly normal, good, usually honest youths, who went out drinking and got themselves involved in reckless and irresponsible behaviour. They are dreadfully sorry."

Diana Infanti, for the third boy, echoed Mr Stewart's remarks, adding: "They have faced the wrath of their parents, humiliation within the community, and are both shamed and ashamed. They have learnt a salutary lesson."

Adjourning sentencing until September 17 pending the completion of Youth Offending Service reports, chairman of the bench Jim Spencer told the boys the court was considering a custodial sentence.

n A fourth youth, who pleaded guilty to stealing a sword from the warehouse during the incident, was placed under a nine-month referral order by the same court yesterday.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also ordered to pay costs of £55.

During the hearing, magistrates heard that the boy took the sword after drinking heavily at the Pound Lane unit during the evening of June 13. He then left the scene and returned home while the remaining three youths continued on their trail of destruction.

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