Youths locked up for vandalism orgy

By Dave GooderhamA HEARTBROKEN couple have spoken of their devastation after three youths filmed themselves smashing up their warehouse, causing more than £28,000 damage.

By Dave Gooderham

A HEARTBROKEN couple have spoken of their devastation after three youths filmed themselves smashing up their warehouse, causing more than £28,000 damage.

The youths, who cannot be named by order of the court, are starting today a custodial sentence after pleading guilty to burglary, criminal damage and stealing a Citroen car found inside the warehouse.

Bury St Edmunds magistrates said yesterday they had no option but


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to make the teenagers subject to a four-month detention and training order, under which they will serve two months in secure accommodation.

They also ordered two of the youths to pay £1,700 each in compensation and the third youngster to pay £1,000.

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A solicitor acting for one of the youths is due in court today after lodging a formal appeal against the sentence immediately after the hearing.

The court heard the three youths, all aged 17, had broken into the warehouse

in Pound Lane Industrial Estate, Hadleigh, on two separate occasions.

Magistrates were told the youths, who live in the Hadleigh area, had stolen a number of items during a break-in on June 12.

They returned to the industrial estate on the following night and captured their

crimes on a camcorder.

The three youths and a couple of friends broke into the premises with a

crossbar and started playing a drinking game, the court heard.

Paul Forshaw, prosecuting, said they had started posing in front of the camera

before some of the young people left and only the three youths remained.

Filming their every move, the teenagers smashed up the warehouse,

drove a Citroen car through a wall and reversing it into other vehicles on the site. They then drove the car across woodland and into a nearby river.

Mr Forshaw said the boys spoke about their exploits on film, which was shown in court, and boasted about how much damage they had done and how they had enjoyed it. They even commented their next exploit would be to “rob a bank”.

Mr Forshaw added: “It is hard to describe what was left as there was so much

damage. In my 30 years, I have never ever come across such wanton damage.”

The youths were caught after one of them left identification cards inside the vehicle, which was recovered from the river. The video tape was also later given up by one of the trio.

Warehouse owners John and Linda White said the incident had had a profound effect on them over the past few months.

Mrs White said: “I couldn't put into words what the last few months have been like. It has been one of the worst periods of my life.

“The amount of money we have lost was important as we are not very well

positioned, but more importantly was the fact that in my wildest dreams, I

couldn't believe anybody could do this and enjoy it - as the video showed.

“We are reasonably happy with the sentence, it was the minimum that should

have been awarded.”

Mr White added: “I didn't expect them to be given a custodial sentence, but for

what they did, they got their just rewards.”

The couple, who have been married for 15 years, had run a garden machinery

company from the warehouse until two years ago when Mrs White said they had been forced to close.

“We had to cease trading because of the amount of vandalism we had to endure. People didn't want to come and see us because it was such a state. For the last two years, we have used it just for storage,” she added.

Roger Stewart, mitigating, told the court: “It was a senseless and irresponsible act caused by drinking and playing silly games.

“But it was only childish behaviour in the heat of drinking and they are

very remorseful about it.”

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