Man vandalised car belonging to Job Centre worker after his benefits were sanctioned

The Advertiser Series: Man used a key to scratch a car's paintwork Man used a key to scratch a car's paintwork

A DRUNKEN man vandalised a Job Centre worker's car in frustration at having his benefits being suspended, a court heard.

Darlington Magistrates’ Court was told today (Tuesday, March 25) that Darren Pratt went drinking in Yates’ wine bar on Skinnergate in the town after he found out that his benefits had been sanctioned on March 3.

After drinking several bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale, Pratt, of Russell Street, Darlington, set off home and en route spotted a parked Nissan Micra he recognised as belonging to a Job Centre worker.

He set about scratching the car’s paintwork with a key, causing almost £500 worth of damage.

Prosecutor, Paula Sanderson, said that Pratt was also heard uttering a racist slur against the car’s Asian owner.

Mrs Sanderson read a statement written by the victim who said: “This whole thing has left me feeling very shaken and upset.

“I don’t expect damage caused to my property for just trying to do my job, and the additional racial slur made by the perpetrator made it all the more upsetting.”

Pratt, 45, admitted criminal damage and using words as racially aggravated harassment.

Mitigating, Sonny Lawson said that although Pratt used to appear before the court fairly regularly in the 1990s and early 2000s, he had now stayed out of trouble for almost ten years.

He told the court that Pratt made full and frank admissions to the police and the court and had realised the foolishness of his actions.

Mr Lawson said: “This is an unsavoury offence, there is nothing to say to justify what he did, but he had his benefits sanctioned. He was upset by that, he consumed an amount of alcohol, went home, saw the car and acted.”

He added: “The person to blame for his benefits being sanctioned is himself; he accepts that.”

Magistrates ordered Pratt to pay £480 compensation to the victim and imposed a tagged curfew between 8pm and 7am for the next eight weeks.

He was also told to pay £85 in court costs, bringing the total owed up to £565.

Comments (5)

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6:10pm Tue 25 Mar 14

laboursfoe says...

What a scumbag. I'm sure taxpayers on her would approve an increased sanction term is we were ever asked!!

Of course, given the constant state of hardship that benefit claimants are in, the natural course of action for this one was to pile in to Yates and get off his face...... Beggars belief!!
What a scumbag. I'm sure taxpayers on her would approve an increased sanction term is we were ever asked!! Of course, given the constant state of hardship that benefit claimants are in, the natural course of action for this one was to pile in to Yates and get off his face...... Beggars belief!! laboursfoe
  • Score: 25

8:05am Wed 26 Mar 14

MartinMo says...

He obviously stole the alcohol as surely on benefits (cut or not) he would not be able to purchase these products.

Another case of hard working tax payers donating (not by choice) into a system which allows the lazy low life scum element of society to sit around and get drunk.
He obviously stole the alcohol as surely on benefits (cut or not) he would not be able to purchase these products. Another case of hard working tax payers donating (not by choice) into a system which allows the lazy low life scum element of society to sit around and get drunk. MartinMo
  • Score: 14

6:08pm Wed 26 Mar 14

calumannabel says...

Can't quite work out who's the more stupid - the waste of space who damaged the car or the idiots on the bench who fined a man with no money £565. How much will it cost the taxpayer to collect this at a couple of quid a week? Surely community service would be the most sensible option! Having admitted the charges why did it require two solicitors to have their noses in the trough?
No wonder legal aid is being cut - it isn't being used properly.
Can't quite work out who's the more stupid - the waste of space who damaged the car or the idiots on the bench who fined a man with no money £565. How much will it cost the taxpayer to collect this at a couple of quid a week? Surely community service would be the most sensible option! Having admitted the charges why did it require two solicitors to have their noses in the trough? No wonder legal aid is being cut - it isn't being used properly. calumannabel
  • Score: 7

7:46pm Wed 26 Mar 14

johnny_p says...

He's going to have to pay £565?

No- myself and everyone working who pays taxes are going to have to pay £565.
He's going to have to pay £565? No- myself and everyone working who pays taxes are going to have to pay £565. johnny_p
  • Score: 3

11:22pm Wed 26 Mar 14

pandorica says...

I am puzzled how he knew what car it was and where they park. Clearly he knew, so others will as well. Think they need to park elsewhere.
I am puzzled how he knew what car it was and where they park. Clearly he knew, so others will as well. Think they need to park elsewhere. pandorica
  • Score: 2

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