A MAN attacked a van with an axe after he was wrongly accused of burgling the owner’s home.

Dominic Craven, of Bradley Road in Bradley, admitted two charges of criminal damage when he appeared before Kirklees magistrates.

The court was told that the 33-year-old smashed the Ford Transit to stop it being used after threats were made to himself and his family.

Craven had been self-employed for three years, his work including gardening and household maintenance.

He had been asked by James Nee to work on some fencing at his home in Longwood Gate.

But on October 28 Mr Nee looked out of his window at 7.30am to see Craven standing in his garden.

Linda Fowler, prosecuting, said: “He saw that he had an axe in his hand and he then used the axe to smash the window in his lounge.

“The defendant then moved to the roadside where he attacked the vehicle parked in the road, using the axe to smash the front windscreen, the two near side windows and tail light.”

Magistrates were told that Craven then left the scene, with Mr Nee hearing the sound of a car being driven away.

Craven then handed himself in to police and admitted the offence.

He caused an estimated £1,500 damage to the vehicle together with £600 damage to two house windows.

Craven said he caused the damage using a firewood axe he kept in his front room by the log burner.

He told officers that he was fearful because threats had been made to him.

Ms Fowler said: “He said: ‘I’ve done it, I’m scared for my children’.”

Ian Whiteley, mitigating, described the set of circumstances surrounding the case as “unusual”.

He said that while Craven was working for Nee his house was burgled.

Mr Whiteley said that there was some doubt as to whether Craven was involved, although he was not.

He said: “Pressure was put on him and his family via certain threats.

“While he was attending at this address he’s taken matters into his own hands.

“He didn’t want to injure anybody but he feels he had to make a stance in relation to this particular matter. He deeply regrets it.”

He said that Craven had been asked to pay compensation far higher than the estimated figure set out in court.

Magistrates gave Craven a community order, which includes a six-week curfew. They also ordered him to pay £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge. No order was made for compensation.

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