Four teenagers named as vandals behind £1,000 damage to WWI memorial

Four teenage yobs, all 18, – including a CRIMINOLOGY student – are unmasked as vandals behind £1,000 drunken 5am wrecking spree at WWI remembrance garden

  • Teenage thugs named as people responsible for damaging to war memorial  
  • Shocking incident took place on September 1 in Rochdale, Greater Manchester 
  • Lewis Hall, Lewis Hart, Jordan Taylor & Elliott McBurnie confessed in court 

Four teenage thugs have been named as the culprits responsible for smashing up a garden and statue in honour of soldiers who fought and died in World War One.

A gang of 18-year-olds got drunk and stamped over flower beds before bending over and kicking a silhouetted ‘Tommy’ statue during a 5am drunken attack. 

Police looked back at CCTV and saw the culprits smashing through the flower beds near the Touchstones art gallery in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. The cost of the damage was estimated to be £1,000. 

Lewis Hart, Lewis Hall, Jordan Taylor and Elliot Burnie (far right, uncovered) rushed out of court following the ruling

A gang of 18-year-olds got drunk and stamped over flower beds before bending over and kicking a silhoutted ‘Tommy’ statue during a 5am attack

Lewis Hall, a van delivery assistant, Lewis Hart, a university student, Jordan Taylor, a carpenter and Elliott McBurnie, an Argos store assistant, all admitted criminal damage for their attack on September 1 at Manchester Magistrates Court.

They were all told to complete 40 hours of unpaid work which will involve them cleaning up local neighbourhoods, and told to pay £570 between them to pay for the damage. 

Prosecutor Karen Saffman said: ‘The CCTV was played and it showed them running around and pulling up plants. They then attacked a second set of flower beds at the Touchstones project. Further damage was done by bending an army silhouette soldier statue. They were all interviewed.’

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In a statement Rochdale Council said: ‘The silhouette soldier which the Touchstones project was displaying was damaged beyond repair in an act of vandalism. A temporary repair was made and we are disgusted about what happened to it.

‘We thought to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, and to their family and friends. This has made a cost of £569.43 for a replacement as they damaged it beyond repair. This shows nothing but disrespect and we couldn’t believe they had done this in this mindless manor.’

Mitigation defence lawyer David Feingold admitted his clients were on a ‘drunken rampage’ and ‘didn’t mean to show disrespect’.

He added: ‘It seems a shame that these four lads, three working and one at university, will now have criminal records for a damaging rampage whilst drunk. It was one of them that pulled up flower beds and one of them took photos. All four accept responsibility for the states they caused. 

The incident took place in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in September – ahead of the centenary anniversary of the Armistice 

‘It was not intended but they did stamp on flowers. That is what affect drink can have. Aggravating features are that the silhouette was damaged and drink will always be an aggravating feature.

‘However, they voluntarily went to the police station and accept the distasteful event. They are very remorseful. They entered pleas at the first opportunity. It did cause upset, but on the other hand they are young men with no previous convictions with mitigating features.

‘They all work and are regularly engaged. One of them is studying psychology and criminal behaviour at university so this is something for him to think about.’ 

Psychology and criminal behaviour student Hart said on behalf of the others: ‘We meant no disrespect to the soldiers, we just weren’t in the right frame of mind at all. We are genuinely genuinely sorry.’

The mindless vandalism was just one of four similar incidents carried out in the area in the space of a week.

Dozens of ‘silhoutte’ soldiers were put up in public places across Rochdale ahead of the centerary anniversary of the Armistice in November.

Martin Taylor, head of environmental management at Rochdale council, said: ‘I am appalled at the disrespect shown to our soldiers. The display was added so that the people have a place to remember their fallen from World War One and this abhorrent, mindless vandalism is saddening and unacceptable.

‘It shows nothing but disrespect to our veterans and their family and friends.’ 

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