Homeless man racks-up £11,000 court debt after damaging police stations to get out of the cold

A homeless man who habitually damages police stations has racked up a court debt of over £11,000 with his latest conviction.
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Jamie Donaldson, 42, smashed the external door at South Shields police HQ in the hope of being arrested to get out the cold.

His wish was granted – and magistrates in South Tyneside heard it was the fourth time he had committed a similar crime.

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He struck at Gateshead police station twice last year – on May 22 and December 14 – and was prosecuted for both.

Some of the damage was caused at South Shields police station.Some of the damage was caused at South Shields police station.
Some of the damage was caused at South Shields police station.

And he damaged the South Shields station on Friday, January 7, for which an external support agency intervened and no prosecution followed.

Donaldson pleaded guilty to committing his latest criminal damage offence on Wednesday, February 2 – and was fined £80, with a £34 victim surcharge.

But magistrates refused to impose court costs or compensation to Northumbria Police, after hearing his latest financial penalty pushed his court debt to £11,022.

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Prosecutor Glenda Beck said: “An officer confirms she heard Mr Donaldson making threats to get arrested for an offence so he could get some sleep.

“He aggressively kicked the front door and said he would smash the police station up if he had to.

“Officers noticed the door was protruding at an angle. He was arrested and made admissions in interview.

“There has been some planning because it would appear that it’s his intention to cause damage to get a bed for the night.”

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For his December attack at Gateshead, Donaldson was sentenced to a six-month conditional discharge, which he breached by his latest offending.

The court heard Donaldson, of no fixed abode, also had a conviction for possession of a bladed article in public.

Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said: “He should, if it existed, be in a proper care system for people who are mentally ill.

“He went to the police station because he wanted somewhere safe and secure to go.

“If arrested, a cell was better than being on the streets.

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“He has broken a door. It could be categorised as a cry for help or for support.”

Magistrates took no action for breach of the community order.

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