Barred punter forced Ipswich bookies to close after hurling chairs at TV screens

Ipswich Magistrates' Court (stock image). Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich Magistrates' Court (stock image). Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

A man barred from an Ipswich bookies walked in a week later and caused it to close for the day after hurling chairs at six television screens.

Shaun Clarke, of Wilberforce Street, Ipswich, was given a 12-month conditional discharge by the town’s magistrates after admitting causing criminal damage estimated at £2,500 to Coral bookmakers in Norwich Road.

The 52-year-old, who has alcohol issues, had previously won £500 on a roulette machine which only allowed him to buy more alcohol, the court heard.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said the incident occurred just after 7pm on June 20.

Clarke entered the shop and immediately started shouting towards another customer who was a friend of his.

The customer told him to go outside after Clarke swore and said “I’m going to smash this shop up”, Mr Ablett said.

Clarke went outside, but returned and picked up a chair. His friend tried to stop him, but Clarke threw it at a TV screen while swearing about the female assistant manager. Clarke then threw other chairs at screens.

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The bookies was said to have incurred a further loss of £5,000 by having to close for the remainder of the evening.

Mr Ablett said Clarke told police he was drunk and accepted he was banned from the Coral shop the previous week.

He said the damage spree was not planned. It was a spur of the moment decision.

Mark Holt, representing Clarke, said: “He made admissions in interview as best he could remember.”

Mr Holt said Clarke had been highly intoxicated.

Magistrates were told he had previously had issues with alcohol and had stopped drinking for 12 years, but had begun drinking again in April.

A month before the offence Clarke had won £500 on a roulette machine which had given him a lot of disposable income to spend on alcohol, the court heard.

Clarke had also been prescribed anti-depressant medication.

He accepted he was legitimately barred from Coral for being drunk.

Clarke had been passing the shop on June 20 with a friend and suddenly decided to go in.

He is said to have sought help for his drinking.

Magistrates also ordered Clarke to pay £500 compensation to Coral.