Homeless man damaged computer at housing office

The offence happened at South Shields Town Hall
The offence happened at South Shields Town Hall

A father who ‘saw red’ and smashed a computer at a housing office when he was told he could not a have a house for his five children is over £500 out of pocket.

Ben Philip Allen had visited South Tyneside Homes’s Homefinder Service at South Shields Town Hall when he lost his temper and began a foul-mouthed rant at a housing officer.

Magistrates in South Tyneside heard the 30-year-old Tourettes sufferer pushed a computer off a desk on August 14 - narrowly missing the council worker.

Glenda Beck, prosecuting said: “This offence happened at the Homefinder office in South Shields. A family attended who were homeless and the workers took them to an interview booth.

“It was the defendant, his partner, her mother, and one of their five children and they were told that because they had become intentionally homeless, he was unable to house them.”

Ms Beck said this made Allen aggressive and he started shouting, swearing and ranting about his five children.

She added: “As the officer tried to explain the legislation to Mr Allen, he then jumped over the counter and pushed the computer and phone off the desk, narrowly missing the housing officer.

“As a result the computer was damaged.”

Allen was arrested, telling police he acted in ‘the heat of the moment’ because he ‘saw red’.

The computer cost £545.76 to repair, the court was told.

A victim statement from the housing officer read: “This assault has left me shocked and taken aback. I expect to go to work in a safe environment. I had to go home due to the shock.

“This is not how my job should be.”

Allen, of Westcott Road, South Shields, pleaded guilty to criminal damage.

David Forrester, defending, said: “It is regrettable what happened. He never intended to damage the computer. He is a man with some issues.

“He suffers from Tourettes and ADHD and had involvement with psychiatric services.

“For him, coming to court in itself is somewhat an imposition. He’s very sorry about what happened.

“He was angry, he was homeless, he needed accommodation. It was refused because his partner allegedly made herself voluntarily homeless.

“That was, in fact, not the case. She was unable to pay the rent because her money was stopped.

“He pushed the computer and it fell off. Undoubtedly it will have been uncomfortable for the gentleman behind the desk.”

The bench made a compensation order in the sum of £549.76.