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Teens who vandalised church sentenced

Teens who vandalised church sentenced

Friday 08 February 2019

Teens who vandalised church sentenced

Friday 08 February 2019

A gang of teenagers have been given various sentences for two separate criminal incidents which included vandalising St John's Church.

Among fines and compensation orders, community service orders of 120 hours were given to each of the three young men, when they appeared before Guernsey's Magistrate yesterday, while a fourth boy had his appearance adjourned until a later date.

Teenagers A and B - whom Express has chosen not to name - were involved with burgling the magazine kiosk at the bus terminus, while teenager A, and a third, teenager C, were responsible for the vandalism at St John's Church in August last year.

At the church, the two were caught on CCTV going inside at 06:50 to "make themselves a coffee", but that quickly led to them writing lewd messages inside the visitor book. They also drew on the tiled flooring and the carpet, and one of them poured the rest of his coffee on the floor. They then left. 

Guernsey Police put an appeal out to the public after church volunteers found the damage and "obscene" notes, asking for anyone with information to come forward. The pair were arrested days later. 

Graeme McKerrell

Pictured: Judge Graeme McKerrell. 

Judge Graeme McKerrell was presiding over the case, and he heard how the two young men in St John's had egged each other on, and their behaviour had escalated. He told them: "to describe your behaviour as childish and grossly offensive is wholly inadequate, I am sure [it] will have offended all right minded members of society.

"You have abused the trust the church has in the community to keep its doors open." 

Teenager C was given 120 hours of community service as a direct alternative to three months youth detention, and ordered to pay £250 compensation to the church. Teenager A was given 100 hours community service as an alternative to three months detention, and the same compensation order.

But Teenager A was also sentenced for the burglary of the magazine kiosk. That had happened earlier in the summer last year, on the 6 May, when he, Teenager B, and the fourth boy all worked together to break through the shutters on the kiosk and steal cigarettes and scratch cards valued at approximately £1,000. 

bus terminus

Pictured: The magazine shop at the Bus Terminus. 

CCTV caught the group loitering around the premises for some time, and "playing" at trying to break the shutters. Eventually, they did. Those shutters have since had to be replaced and reinforced. 

After his arrest for that incident, Teenager A broke police bail and also was found in the possession of 0.3g of cannabis. So in addition to the other charges, Teenager A was given a further 20 hours of community service for breaching bail, a two month youth detention sentence suspended for 18 months for the burglary, along with a further £200 to pay in compensation. And he was fined £200 for the cannabis. 

In total teenager A will serve 120 hours of community service, pay £450 in compensation, a £200 fine, and has a two month suspended sentence. 

Teenager B was given the same length community service order, £200 compensation, and a £250 fine for a driving offence. 

Judge McKerrell concluded: "Quite simply, you need to reign in your behaviour, if there is any back sliding, any breach of these orders, that's it, you've blown your chance". 

Pictured top: St Johns's Church, image from the Deanery of Guernsey website. 

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