A tenant who ran off after smashing up his rental home and leaving £20,000 of damage has been given an 18-month community order and 300 hours of unpaid work.
The sentence has failed to impress landlord Glenn Schofield, who said the sentence would not deter other vandals.
After the house was vacated, police had to board it up because windows had been smashed and debris covered the floors of every room of the Darlington property.
Mr Schofield had spent months going through the courts to get an eviction order but his tenant smashed it up in anger at being asked to leave.
The landlord spent £2,000 cleaning the house, while his insurer quoted another £18,500 to repair further damage, including replacing broken kitchen fittings and appliances.
Sue Jacobs, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court that paint had been thrown over walls and the fireplace, with ‘extensive damage’ in every room. She said: “The banister had been completely ripped off, paint had been thrown over the walls and fireplace, doors were smashed and windows broken.”
Judge Howard Crowson told Lee Davis that he wanted to make him foot the bill but could not as the teenager had no money.
Davis, who was arrested after police traced him to a new address near Glasgow, pleaded guilty to criminal damage before being sentenced. The court heard that Davis hoped to join the Army, and either a prison sentence or a suspended jail term would have resulted in ‘the door being slammed shut in his face’.
Judge Crowson said: “I did wonder whether I was going to have to lock you up. You have admitted some quite unpleasant damage – spiteful, really.
“I wish I could make you pay for the damage you have done. I can’t. But I note it is your intention to obtain paid employment and, perhaps, the insurers will pursue you then.”
Mr Schofield said the sentence could encourage other vandals. He said: “It is a very disappointing situation.”