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Teens to pay church back for vandalism

News | Published:

TWO young men will undertake community service orders at St John’s Church, as punishment for drawing lewd images and offensive words on the church’s floor and in the visitors’ book, before pouring coffee on the carpet.

)Picture By Steve Sarre, 23839606)

Zak Dragun, 19, of 19, Clos L’Ecole, Brock Road, St Peter Port, and another youth, who cannot be named because of his age, both pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage at the church last August.

In sentencing them, Judge Graeme McKerrell said the teenagers’ behaviour was not acceptable.

‘To describe your behaviour as childish, self-centred and grossly-offensive is wholly inadequate,’ he said.

‘Your behaviour was more befitting of badly behaved nine-year-olds.’

The Magistrate’s Court heard that the two had entered the church in Les Amballes at about 6.50am and were seen on CCTV to help themselves to a hot drink.

They then approached the visitors book and wrote in it. Church volunteers later found found it had been defaced.

Both were seen to use marker pens to write and draw rude messages on the church’s blue carpet and then on the floor tiles.

Notes of a lewd nature were also later found by volunteers in the church’s suggestion box.

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Before leaving the contents of the pair’s coffee cups was poured onto the carpet.

The under-age defendant originally stated that he had not been in the church for two years. But after being shown the CCTV and speaking to his mum, he admitted causing the damage.

He said that he and Dragun had gone into the church for a drink, but then had started drawing images and trying to outdo each other.

He also pleaded guilty to being found in possession of a small quantity of cannabis in his wallet and failing to comply with bail.

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Defence advocate Paul Lockwood said his under-age client was fully aware this case would cause an outcry and people would be disgusted by his behaviour.

‘He is ashamed of his antics.’

He noted that a community service order could be tailored for the pair to do work at the church and said his client wanted to face the people he had affected and apologise for his actions.

Advocate Phoebe Cobb, for Dragun, said the defendant accepted the prosecution facts. She highlighted that the damage to the church and visitor’s book was estimated to cost about £150 to put right.

She added that her client was a young man, who was currently unemployed, and imposing a CSO would give him more structure in his life.

Judge McKerrell said the church kept its doors open for people in need, whether they were religious or not. But the defendants had abused that trust.

‘When that trust is abused, a time may come when the church has to close its doors and that would damaging, not just for the church, but community as a whole,’ he said.

Dragun was sentenced to 120 hours’ community service.

The other defendant was sentenced to 100 hours community service for the criminal damage, 20 hours for the bail offence and fined £200 for the cannabis possession.

They were both ordered to pay £250 compensation to the church.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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