Shopmobility vandal jailed over smashed window

Homeless man wanted to get arrested, court is told

A HOMELESS man vandalised a Barnstaple shop window to get himself taken into custody, North Devon Magistrates have been told.

Tony Mark Allen, 30, admitted smashing a front door window of the Go North Devon Shopmobility Centre in Albert Lane at around 9.10pm on Monday.

Shop staff arrived the following morning to find the damage – described as “of value and beyond repair” – and discovered footage of the incident on the centre’s CCTV recordings.

But shortly after 5pm the same day, the court heard how Allen, originally from the Southampton area, walked into Barnstaple Police Station to give himself up.

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At Wednesday’s hearing, prosecution solicitor, David Barnes, said: “He attended the police station of his own accord and said he had a drink problem and wanted to sort himself out.”

For the defence, Tim Hook said that Allen was a previous resident of the Ovis Farm rehabilitation centre near Bratton Fleming. He said that he had appeared in court the previous Friday for stealing �6 from under a pillion seat of a motorcycle parked in a garage and was ordered to repay the money and pay �50 costs.

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He was also given a supervision order, which required him to reside at an address he had given the court.

Mr Hook said: “At the time he was staying with a friend but when this address was no longer available to him he became depressed and drank alcohol. He knew he would be in breach of the supervision order and got himself taken into custody as quickly as possible.

“This is the case of a man put on a supervision order who doesn’t have he wherewithal to comply with it.

“He says he’s sorry for the inconvenience he’s caused but he just can’t comply with the court’s original order and the only way he can bring this to an end is to spend time in custody.

“This is part of the dramatic irony the court sees – the sad fact is that a short period of custody is the only alternative.”

Presiding magistrate, Michael Downward sentenced Allen to four weeks in prison for the criminal damage offence but made no order for compensation. For failing to comply with the conditions set in relation to the burglary offence, he sentenced Allen to eight weeks consecutive and seven days concurrent to replace the compensation awarded.

He said: “You will probably be released in six weeks but it is up to you to sort yourself out as to when you are released.”

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