Teenager given conditional discharge after twice leaving DNA on female clothing in Ipswich store’s changing rooms

Peacocks in Carr Street, Ipswich

Peacocks in Carr Street, Ipswich - Credit: Gregg Brown

A troubled 18-year-old has been given a conditional discharge after he ruined female clothing at an Ipswich town centre store.

Paul Baines, of Foxhall Road, Ipswich, admitted two charges of criminal damage to clothes while in the changing room at Peacocks in Carr Street.

Ipswich magistrates heard the teenager was charged with criminal damage because an offence of outraging public decency would require one or more people to have seen what Baines had done.

The first offence occurred on September 28.

Prosecutor Emma Howson said Baines entered the store at 3.20pm and asked a member of staff in the Denim section for assistance.

He then continued to look around the store, before entering the disabled changing room where he remained for more than 10 minutes.

The court was told another member of staff was tidying the changing area when the background music stopped and she heard noises being made by a male.

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After Baines left the worker went to the changing room to find a mess.

Two skirts and a pair of tights were found and had been damaged.

The second similar offence occurred at 2.05pm on October 7.

A pile of clothing was left on the floor of a cubicle along with a ripped pack of tights. A shop a assistant found they had also suffered some damage.

Baines was traced through CCTV which captured him going into the changing rooms. The DNA left behind also matched that of Baines.

Magistrates were told when Baines was being taken to into custody he told police: “I like dressing up as a girl in girl’s clothing. That’s it. I hide it because nobody knows my secret.”

Baines’ solicitor David Allan told the court his client was a confused young man with various issues which meant he was receiving psychiatric help and counselling.

Mr Allan added: “Plainly this is a young man who is facing significant difficulties at a difficult time in his life.”

Sentencing Baines chairman of the bench Alan Fletcher told him: “Clearly what you did was wrong, but you understand that.”

The magistrates said they were reassured that the student was being given the full support of various agencies and would be dealing with the matter by giving Baines a six-month conditional discharge.

Baines was also ordered to pay £50.50 compensation to Peacocks.