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Man damaged ex-colleague's Mercedes and van in dispute over unpaid wages

PUBLISHED: 15:13 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:13 26 September 2019

A man caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to an immaculate Mercedes and a van following an angry dispute over unpaid wages, a court heard. Photo: Archant

A man caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to an immaculate Mercedes and a van following an angry dispute over unpaid wages, a court heard. Photo: Archant

A man caused more than £4,000 of damage to an "immaculate" Mercedes and a van following an angry dispute over unpaid wages, a court heard.

Kelvin Burton, 63, of North Walsham Road, Norwich, left multiple scratches on a blue Transit van and the silver car after "banging" loudly on the door of owner Lee Ladbrooke's home, Norwich Magistrates Court heard.

Scratches were found on the body of both vehicles, described as being in "perfect, immaculate" condition, with the cost of the damage amounting to £4,121.81.

At Burton's trial, held on Thursday, September 26, Stephen Poole, prosecuting, told the court: "They had worked together and known each other for many years.

"There was an angry dispute over money he was owed so Mr Burton went to his house.

"He was banging on the door."

Burton, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing some of the damage to the van, told the court he had visited Mr Ladbrooke's home at around 7pm on Wednesday, December 5, after drinking in the Blue Boar pub, and said he intended to return the victim's angle grinder to him.

But he denied causing the damage to the silver vehicle, and said: "I didn't have anything to do with the other scratches on the van. I didn't touch the Mercedes."

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He accepted that he had the angle grinder with him, but told the court: "I didn't have any plug to plug it in. I had the tool with me but it had no blade. I didn't use it."

But Mr Poole added: "It's pretty obvious - you can be sure he was responsible for the other damage."

Debbie Reynolds, mitigating, said: "He's a man who's not been in trouble for decades.

"He has suffered an awful time in recent years with the loss of his wife and a period of depression."

Burton was found guilty of causing criminal damage to property valued under £5,000 to the Mercedes and given a conditional discharge lasting for 12 months.

He was also ordered to pay £500 compensation, with £400 going towards the £2,752.81 of damage to the Transit van, and £100 towards the £1,368 of damage to the Mercedes, and must also pay a £20 victim surcharge.

No restraining order was made.

Chairman of the bench, Brian Earlie, told the court Burton's sentence was "unusual given the amount of damage", but added: "We're not saying this was a less serious offence. We have to take into account your circumstances."

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