AN angry customer smashed windows at a South Tyneside bank after learning he still had thousands of pounds left to pay on a loan.
Jobless Graham Ramsey vandalised the TSB offices – formerly Lloyds TSB – in Barrington Street, South Shields, in the early hours of Friday, July 4.
He took a piece of wood from nearby St Hilda’s Church and started smashing windows with it, and was heard by one eyewitness to say: “I put the windows out – nobody cares.”
Later he attended South Shields Police Station and told staff of the offence, which caused an estimated £1,000 damage.
Appearancing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, Ramsey, 46, of Moreland Road, South Shields, admitted a charge of criminal damage.
He was sentenced to a nine-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay compensation of £100.
The court heard Ramsey was furious that he still owed almost the full amount on a £7,000 loan he had taken out from the bank five years earlier.
Stan Sudworth, prosecuting, said: “This incident happened at 3.30 in the morning, and a witness who was using the cashpoint saw Mr Ramsey, as it turned out, go to St Hilda’s Church, pick up a large piece of wood, go back, and deliberately smash the windows at the bank.
“He then sat down at the JobCentre in Keppel Street, and a short time later presented himself at the police station, where he admitted he had just broken windows at Lloyds Bank.”
David Forrester, defending, said: “He was offered and then strongly advised to take a caution at the police station. However, he absolutely refused and said he wanted his day in court.
“The reason he took that decision is that he has had a difficult relationship with Lloyds Bank that goes back five years, when he took out a secured loan on his house for £7,000.
“He subsequently lost his job, but over the past few years he managed to pay off £3,500.
“He received a notice from the bank saying it had now sent the debt to a collection agency, and when he looked at the figures, which no doubt included the collection agency’s fees, he learned that he had only paid £150 off the loan.
“His view was that this was utterly unfair, and, clearly in a state of some upset, he decided to take it out on the windows.”
The court heard that due to the imposition of extra costs, the loan has now increased to £9,500, and the former security guard, who is struggling to prevent his home being repossessed, has found himself in a “cycle of poverty”.