A TEENAGER faces jail after admitting on Facebook to flooding Portsmouth’s central library and causing £150,000 of damage.
The 16-year-old – who cannot be named for legal reasons – fought back tears as he confessed to committing the crime at the library in Guildhall Square.
Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard how he filled the plugholes in the third-floor men’s toilets with toilet roll and switched on the taps – causing water to pour through the library from 7.28pm on August 18 until the next day.
After initially denying the charge, the teenager changed his plea when he was confronted with the transcript of a Facebook conversation in which he told a friend he was the one responsible for the flood.
Asked on the social networking site if he had caused the damage, the teenager said: ‘Kind of, yeah.
‘I’ve kept it to myself, a few mates know.’
District Judge Anthony Callaway said: ‘What you have done was a major crime in which considerable damage was done.
‘It resulted in the library being out of action for the period of time we have heard, and all because of your act of vandalism.
‘I accept that you have now belatedly admitted what you did and were previously a young man of good character.
‘Nonetheless, you should understand that the court is now likely to send you to custody.’
Another 16-year-old – who cannot be named – also stood accused of criminal damage but was found not guilty.
Both were captured on the library’s CCTV but the second teenager said he didn’t know the taps had been turned on.
The teenager who admitted causing the damage told the court: ‘I filled the plugs with toilet paper while my friend was in the cubicle.
‘Then he left a couple of seconds before me and I turned the taps on.’
The library was shut for five months while repairs were carried out, including recarpeting the building, replacing computer equipment and fixing electrics.
Some irreplaceable books were also destroyed when water cascaded through the building.
Insurance covered some of costs – which totalled more than £150,000 – but Portsmouth City Council was forced to contribute £50,000 of taxpayers’ funds towards the repairs.
The teenager was bailed and will return to court for sentencing on May 11.