Garth farm ransacked as youth pair shoot at windows and vehicle

Published date: 22 January 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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TEENAGERS ransacked a farm, causing about £5,000 worth of damage by firing shotguns and throwing axes.

Two youths entered the farm on Tower Hill, Garth, near Llangollen – belonging to farmer Paul Brereton – through an unlocked door before running riot.

Gashes to the inside walls of the farm  house were made by throwing axes.

The teenagers also broke into a gun cabinet, took three shotguns and used them to shoot out windows.

They also shot out the tyres and windows of a Landrover left at the property belonging to Joe Wilson and stole a chainsaw from inside the vehicle.

A 15-year-old and 17-year-old both previously admitted charges of burglary, criminal damage and theft from a motor vehicle at a hearing at Wrexham Youth Court.

Yesterday at the same court the 15-year-old boy was sentenced to a nine-month referral order. The 17-year-old had his case adjourned.

Alan Humphreys, prosecuting, said Mr Brereton, who lives alone, was away from the property at the time of the incident.

He returned home on the evening of June 17 to find two doors at the farm had been bolted from the inside.

When he got inside Mr Brereton found several “gash marks” in the living room walls where an axe had been thrown against them.

Mr Humphreys said there was “general evidence” of ransacking of the property.

Windows at outbuildings around the farm had been shot through and the vehicle belonging to Mr Wilson – bought for £15,000 in 2012 – sustained “significant damage”.

The windscreens had been put through and the bodywork of the car had bullet holes in it.

An off-duty police officer was walking near the property at about 6.30pm on June 17 when he heard a gun being fired repeatedly followed by the sound of cheering.

The officer looked towards the farm and saw one individual standing by a gate but continued his walk, assuming it had been the owner of the farm using the gun.

The youths heard someone approaching the property and discarded the guns not far from the farm before fleeing the scene.

After police were alerted, a search of the buildings found cigarette butts and drink cans which were used to place the 15-year-old at the scene through DNA identification.

Elzbeth Kenny, defending, said the 15-year-old “must accept responsibility and culpability for not only his, but his friends’ actions.”

She said the youths thought the property was abandoned, given its dishevelled appearance.

Miss Kenny added: “The victims were not deliberately targeted. Because of his naivety he was exploited by his peer group on the day in question. You could easily argue the custody threshold has been passed by these offences.”

Roland Humphries, chairman of magistrates, said the incident could have had a “significant effect” on the victims.

He issued a nine-month referral order for the 15-year-old.

Mr Humphries also ordered compensation to Mr Brereton of £200 for damage caused to the property and £450 to Mr Wilson for the theft of the chainsaw and damage to his car.

Court costs of £65 and a victim surcharge of £15 were also imposed.

A 17-year-old, who was jointly charged with the younger boy and also admitted the charges at an earlier hearing, had his case adjourned for a fortnight.

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