Youths sentenced for college vandalism

Three teenagers and a 12-year-old boy appeared before magistrates yesterday to be sentenced for their roles in three days of “wanton destruction” at a Norfolk college.

Three teenagers and a 12-year-old boy appeared before magistrates yesterday to be sentenced for their roles in three days of “wanton destruction” at a Norfolk college.

Magistrates at King's Lynn Youth Court heard how the four played differing parts in smashing toilets, throwing TVs and computers out of windows, destroying chairs, and flooding rooms at Plaxtole House, a 40-bed hall of residence for disabled students at the College of West Anglia.

The court was told the attack spanned July 26 to 28 and left the college authorities facing £110,000 of damage.

At the time college principal Peter Stewart described the attacks as 'wanton destruction' and staff were left in tears at the shock of how much damage had been caused.

Yesterday , prosecutor Kevin Eastwick said damage to the windows alone was estimated at £10,000, while the flooding had caused £10,000 worth of damage to the flooring and ceiling and £20,700 was caused in damage to the 'fabric' of the building.

A four page report was compiled by the college listing all the damage which had been caused. He added: “It's a fairly long list.”

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Mark Rix, 15, whose address cannot be published by order of the court, admitted two counts of burglary and three counts of criminal damage at Plaxtole House and further unrelated charges of a theft, putting a roadside barrier on a railway line with the likely intent of endangering life on the Hardwick Bridge at Lynn on September 3, criminal damage to hanging baskets on August 29 and a public order offence on September 1.

The court heard he was a vulnerable teenager who had been in and out of trouble. Rix was given an 18-month detention and training order.

The 12-year-old admitted three counts of burglary, three counts of criminal damage at Plaxtole House along with a charge of criminal damage to hanging baskets in Lynn town centre on August 29 and also to Fakenham High School on May 5 and a public order offence on September 1.

The court heard he was severely emotionally damaged and that he had the mental age of between 9 months and three years. The court imposed a 12 month detention and training order - but an appeal against sentence was later launched and he was released on bail pending the hearing.

Tony Venemore, 17, from the Lynn area but whose precise address cannot be published by order of the court, admitted a charge of burglary on July 26 and was given a 10 month referral order as his role had not been as much as the others and he had only smashed a few windows and plates.

The court heard that Venemore was sorry for his actions and had handed himself in to the police following reports of the attack in the media.

A 15-year-old boy from Yarmouth, who cannot be named, admitted two charges of burglary at Plaxtole House on July 25 and 27.

He was said to have played a small role in the overall damage and was given a nine month referral order.

An application to name all four defendants and their addresses were made to the court by the press.

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