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Drunk teenager endangered restaurant

PUBLISHED: 00:59 02 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:40 03 March 2010

TEENAGER Gavin Potter pushed a lit cigarette through a restaurant letterbox, a court heard.

Potter was originally charged with attempted arson at The Golden Panda Restaurant in Woodbridge, South East Suffolk Magistrates heard.

TEENAGER Gavin Potter pushed a lit cigarette through a restaurant letterbox, a court heard.

Potter was originally charged with attempted arson at The Golden Panda Restaurant in Woodbridge, South East Suffolk Magistrates heard.

But the charge was withdrawn and instead Potter admitted using behaviour likely to cause alarm or distress on September 14.

A restaurant worker spotted a teenager fitting Potter's description push the lit cigarette through the letterbox, which fell onto the doormat.

"No damage was caused but it was clearly a dangerous thing to do as a fire could have started," said prosecutor Stephen Coleman.

An analysis of the cigarette end matched DNA from a sample provided by the 18-year-old, of Peterhouse Crescent, Woodbridge.

In police interview Potter said he was 90 percent certain he did not commit the offence but admitted he was drunk that night.

Claire Hullock, mitigating, said one of two young men were spotted putting the lit cigarette through the letterbox and Potter had volunteered to give a DNA sample because he did not think he was responsible.

"He thinks he shared a cigarette and someone else put it through the letterbox. He was 90 percent certain he didn't commit the offence because he has no recollection of the incident, but accepts it was a possibility because of his drinking.

"He is quite shaken up (by the incident) and is quite shocked by this and by the potential seriousness of it."

She added Potter, who has a previous conviction for drunk and disorderly, was full of remorse and had stopped drinking as a result.

Leisha Klein, chairwoman of the bench, gave Potter a 12 month conditional discharge, warning him the act "could have been very serious."


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