Teenager tries to flatten new homes with digger
A 15 year-old-boy and his friends turned into a wrecking crew when they got into a showpiece housing development.
They tried to pull down partly built homes after starting up two excavators and a road roller in the early hours of the morning.
The 15-year-old Lewis Benit used a five ton digger swinging it around to attack brickwork.
Blackpool Youth Court heard that Benit was also part of a gang which got into Blackpool Pleasure Beach last month, starting up the Blue Flyer rollercoaster by breaking into the controller’s cabin at 4.20am.
They rode around the track several times leaping from car to car.
He pleaded guilty to the aggravated taking of the building site digger causing damage to buildings, tools, scaffold and another digger.
Benit also admitted threatening behaviour against a slot machine arcade worker who was trying to throw him out of the premises because Benit was suspected of stealing from machines.
He also admitted causing £150 of damage to a car by headbutting it outside Blackpool Police Station.
The £50m Foxhall Village project at Blackpool, was put behind schedule by the spree with and extensive clean up operation required the need for all the scaffold to be replaced for safety reasons by main contractors Hollinwood Homes.
Benit was made the subject of a 12 month Criminal Behaviour Order. He was also given a 12 month Rehabilitation Order and a three month curfew.
His name was given in court and no order was made banning his identification.
The Behaviour Order bans him from going into Blackpool Town Centre.
He must not associate with five other named people, have cards which could be used in fraudulent card tricks and must not harass or put anyone in fear.
Prosecutor Chrissie Hunt said that at the start of proceedings the crimes were part of the application by the police and local authority for the Behaviour Order.
She said: “When he went onto the building site at 2am he managed to start the industrial plant vehicles and he was trying to pull houses down.
“He managed to swing the digger around.
“He put himself and the site workers who may have gone on the scaffold the following day in great danger.”
“There was an extensive clean up and the site went behind schedule.”
Leisa Splaine, defending, said that a problem upbringing had a knock on effect on her client’s behaviour and that Benit was currently not on any educational programme.
She added: “He mixed with a certain group of individuals and things got very out of hand.”
The Gazette understands he no longer lives in the area and his behaviour has improved since the incident.
The report on Benit given to magistrates also said he cheated holidaymakers out of their money playing card tricks and how he would taunt elderly people. During one month alone the police had 35 logs on his behaviour.
When asked by chairman of the bench Peter Pimbley to explain himself, Benit said: “I know I should not have done those things. I was not thinking.”
Mr Pimbley warned him: “What you did was very, very dangerous you will not get closer than this to going into custody.”