Baseball bat vandal must do unpaid work

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A ROTHBURY man who pleaded guilty to two charges of obstructing police and one of criminal damage received a one year community order when he appeared for sentencing at Berwick Magistrates Court last Thursday.

Lee Michael Gale was ordered to do 80 hours unpaid work, was made the subject of a restraining order against his former girlfriend, and was told to pay £50 compensation and £85 in costs.

Gale, who is 41, had pleaded guilty to the offences, all of which occured at Rothbury, at an earlier hearing.

The prosecution said that in October 2010 he used a baseball bat to cause over £4,500 worth of damage to a Berlingo van which was parked outside his house on the High Street.

The windows had been smashed, and when police went to investigate they found Gale in his house. The baseball bat was there and it had glass from the vehicle embedded in it.

One of the obstruction charges arose from the incident when he resisted PC Newby in the execution of his duty as he tried to arrest him

The other came about following an incident in Rothbury in August 2010 when Gale turned up at an address where his girlfriend was staying. The police were called and he obstructed PC Collins in the execution of his duty.

The defendant later told officers he had been upset because the van had been parked outside his house.

The court was told the damage had been paid for by the owner’s insurance company, but there was every chance they would try to redeem their costs through a civil action at a later date. There had been a £50 excess which was asked for in compensation.

In mitigation, defence solicitor Ian O’Rourke said his client was a man of previous good character.

He had become upset after his girlfriend had an abortion, which was why he had gone to see her. Unfortunately, the police had been called which had led to his arrest.

Gale had been on bail for over a year and Mr O’Rourke said he was desperate to ‘try and get his life back on track.’

Magistrates called for a stand-down report from probation, and probation officer Nicola Bridgeman told the court that Gale accepted full responsibility for his actions.

“He appears to have been through some sort of psychiatric break-down,” she said, “but he has now addressed his mental health issues and wants to get on with his life.”