Loan fury led customer to smash bank windows

DAMAGE ... Graham Ramsey and, inset, the bank in Barrington Street.
DAMAGE ... Graham Ramsey and, inset, the bank in Barrington Street.

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.

Lloyds / TSB, Barrington Street

Lloyds / TSB, Barrington Street

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”.

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul