Boy, 17, admits £20,000 attack on special school

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A VANDAL who caused thousands of pounds of damage to a special school in a incident that sparked community outrage has been given a 12-month court order.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced at Fareham Youth Court yesterday.

The boy appeared charged with five offences, which took place over three incidents in November last year.

The first took place on November 8. The teenager was charged with burglary and criminal damage totalling £20,000 caused to St Francis Special School, in Oldbury Way, Fareham.

Prosecuting Dan O’Neill said: ‘St Francis Special School is a school designed for children with severe disabilities.

‘As a result of the substantial damage the school was closed for at least a week for repair and clean up of the damage.

‘The result was that families had to take emergency leave from work to look after their children so it had a wide impact of the community.’

Mr O’Neill said windows were smashed, furniture broken and graffiti sprayed.

The second incident happened at Abbey Garden Buildings, in Southampton Road, Titchfield, on November 12.

The teenager was again charged with burglary and criminal damage, this time to the value of approximately £2,500 after sheds were damaged and windows broken at the business.

The court heard that the boy was caught in the act during the third incident, which took pace on November 23 at Brookfield School, in Brook Lane, Sarisbury Green. He was charged with criminal damage totalling £317.40 for this.

A disturbance had been reported to police and they attended the school with a dog to find the boy carrying out criminal damage with a hammer in his hand.

The teenager pleaded guilty to all five offences.

He appeared at court accompanied by his mum and dad.

His mum said: ‘I am really sorry for what my son has done.’

The teen spoke only a few words to the court, but did tell the magistrates: ‘I am sorry, really sorry.’

Chairman of magistrates Raymond Burnish considered an application from The News to lift reporting restrictions but said this would not be in the public interest due to the teenager’s own vulnerability.

He sentenced him to a 12-month youth referral order, which will see him complete 30 hours’ community work as well as completing three months of speech and language work with the youth offending team.

Another boy is jointly charge and is due to stand trial at a later date.