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Church forgives vandals

PUBLISHED: 12:08 08 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:04 03 March 2010

FORGIVENESS has been given to two men who smashed a church window in a drunken act of vandalism.

However, Stephen Williams and Jonathan Cook have both been ordered by South East Suffolk magistrates to pay for the glass to be replaced in the porch of Trimley St Martin Church.

FORGIVENESS has been given to two men who smashed a church window in a drunken act of vandalism.

However, Stephen Williams and Jonathan Cook have both been ordered by South East Suffolk magistrates to pay for the glass to be replaced in the porch of Trimley St Martin Church.

Police were called to the village church at about 9.40pm on May 30 after a concrete breeze block was used to smash a 5ft by 3ft side window.

Williams, 31, of Mill Pouch, Trimley St Mary, and Cook, 20, of Manning Road, Felixstowe, were arrested at the scene and later charged with causing criminal damage. Both pleaded guilty to the charge when they appeared in court yesterday .

The court was told that both men had drinking problems and consumed a considerable amount of alcohol on the day in question.

Tim Ridyard mitigating for Cook said: "He is having on going difficulty relating to the consumption of alcohol. It has got out of hand to the extent that he now wants to seek professional assistance.

"On this Thursday night he had drunk a lot and engaged in vandalism that had no rhyme or reason behind it."

Nikki Miller mitigating for Williams said: "He is a gentleman who has quite a dire problem with alcohol and has done for a considerable period of time. They seem to stem from the breakdown of his marriage.

"He accepts the situation has got to crisis point but he cannot find the means or motivation to find help."

Magistrates sentenced Williams and Cook to a compensation order of £78.50 each to cover for the cost of a replacement window. They were also ordered to pay £55 costs each.

Meanwhile Rev Terry Wells, vicar at Trimley St Martin Church today forgave the two men and said it was "rather sad" that the incident had happened at all, and compensation was adequate punishment.

"Of course, I forgive them - the church never holds a grudge against people," he said.

"I think these two people were not thinking straight at the time of the incident and as long as we get the money for the window, we will be quite happy and we can all move on and this can be forgotten about. It is rather sad that it happened in the first place."

Williams was also sentenced to a five month curfew order after breaching a community rehabilitation order which was subsequently revoked.

The sentence covered the offences for which he had originally been given the order on November 21 last year, plus a bail act offence and a charge of criminal damage to a beach hut some time between August 21 and 22 last year.

He will be electronically tagged and under curfew from 5pm to 5am until the end of October.

Meanwhile Cook is due to appear before magistrates on June 21 to be sentenced for two charges, of theft and criminal damage.

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