DCSIMG

‘Despicable’ yobs admit wrecking charity’s home

Melanie Whitfield-Tinkler, director of he Harbour Cancer Support Centre at Gosport Bus Station which was ransacked by vandals over night.

Picture: Steve Reid (123032-740)

Melanie Whitfield-Tinkler, director of he Harbour Cancer Support Centre at Gosport Bus Station which was ransacked by vandals over night. Picture: Steve Reid (123032-740)

A PAIR of teenage yobs have been branded as ‘despicable’ and ‘disgusting’ for wrecking a cancer charity’s premises.

The youths – aged 13 and 15 – both admitted burgling and causing criminal damage worth £7,450 to the Harbour Cancer Support Centre above the bus station in South Street, Gosport.

They climbed through an unlocked firstfloor window shortly after midnight on September 14 and set about tearing the place apart.

The pair broke furniture, threw food from the kitchen at the walls, smashed a reinforced glass door and destroyed potted plants, throwing them around the centre. They also stole eight bottles of wine.

The boys, who are both from the Gosport area but cannot be named for legal reasons, entered guilty pleas to the break-in at Fareham Youth Court.

The 15-year-old boy’s mother was at court and she said: ‘He hasn’t been brought up this way, and he has never gone off the rails before. I’m disgusted that he thought this was something he could do.’

Chairman of the bench Michael Cleaves said: ‘It is our view that you were aware of what you were doing and where you were doing it.

‘It’s our view that this was a particularly despicable way to behave.

‘We take an extremely dim view of the actions you took and the community was horrified by what you did on that night.

‘I can’t stress enough the distress people felt over what you did which is why we are giving you the maximum referral order.’

Both were given 12-month referral orders and told to pay £125 compensation each as well as pay £85 costs. Neither had any previous convictions.

The court heard how the charity had been able to recoup much of its costs from an insurance claim, but had to pay £250 excess.

Speaking after the sentencing, charity director Melanie Whitfield-Tinkler said: ‘I am pleased that they’ve pleaded guilty.

‘We were saddened that anyone could do this, but I think that because of their ages they had no idea of the impact they have had on people’s lives, and the implications of what they did.

‘I would like them to see how much of a difference it makes our clients at what is a terrible time in their lives.

‘This is their safe haven at an awful time. It’s supposed to be warm and inviting but they ruined that. We are virtually back to normal now and we have had some tremendous support from the community.’

 
 
 

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